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Book Review: The Heir Of Night: The Wall Of Night, Book One
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Darkeva   |  
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The Heir of Night: The Wall of Night, Book OneThe Heir of Night
The Wall of Night, Book One
Paperback | Kindle
By Helen Lowe
HarperCollins
Release Date: September 28, 2010

The first novel in a planned trilogy, The Heir of Night is about a princess named Malian who is the Heir to the House of Night, and it’s her mission to fight against the Darkswarm who have been terrorizing the lands of her people for quite some time. The people thought they were banished, but it turns out they weren’t, and she has to fight against them by finding legendary artifacts that are buried across different lands. Along the way, she discovers her love for her best friend, Kalan, who is Heir to the House of Blood.

I will preface my review by saying that although The Heir of Night is marketed toward the adult fantasy market, it will appeal more to teens, especially lovers of Tamora Pierce’s books who will forge an instant connection with the teenage main character, Malian, who is the Heir of Night.

This novel has a strong opening with evocative, lush descriptions that remind me of the Dragonlance series. In this universe, with interesting world-building, there are different Heirs and Houses, so if you like that sort of thing, you’ll enjoy this book. Malian, the Heir of Night, has a friend Kalan, who is from the House of Blood, whose members are traditionally warriors.

The book mostly chronicles their journeys together, although they do get split up at one point. The alternating points of view between Malian, Kalan, and some of the other characters make for an interesting change in terms of the pacing.

However, despite the fact that the novel gets off to a strong start and has a promising lead-in to an exciting tale, the complicated epic fantasy backstory and infodumpy dialogue made it difficult to get through this novel. Although the world-building is rich and so extensive that it requires a glossary, found at the back of the book, some of the concepts may have benefited from fewer clichés, especially the Darkspawn, which, although they sound cool, are a familiar bad guy trope. But the Raptors, another of the “monsters” camp, are interesting to follow. Most reviewers have been quick to point out the similarities to Tolkien, especially as this novel does feature a quest to find legendary weapons.

From a magic standpoint, Malian’s attacks came a bit too easily for my taste, and I didn’t feel suspense or any kind of struggle in what’s meant to be a pivotal scene in the first third of the book when Malian gets sucked into another realm. And though the dialogue is supposed to sound arcane, it comes off as too stilted at times.

Ultimately, I found that this novel, although it has similarities to Anne Bishop’s Dark Jewels series and Fiona Patton’s The Stone Prince, suffered from a few too many clichés (prophecies, Chosen Ones, special weapons, etc.) and I couldn’t connect to any of the characters, because I didn’t feel a personal connection to any of them, or what they felt they had at stake.

Still, if you like epic fantasy that features many historical elements in terms of world building style, then you might enjoy Heir of Night.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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