Heir to the Throne by Maria Albert

HeirtotheThroneLGTitle: Heir to the Throne

Series: Descent of Kings 02

Author: Maria Albert

Genre: High Fantasy

Length: Super Novel (450pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (29th July 2013)

Heat Level: Nil

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4 Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: “It would not be the first time I made such a grave tactical error. I have made many. It is not your responsibility to save this world from the evil that threatens to consume it, Aras. Do not blame yourself for my shortcomings.” —Prince Talon of the Amontir

When his bonds to his cousins Hunter and Beryl are unexpectedly severed, Talon is devastated, fearing his kinsmen dead. In his darkest hour, Talon succors a young Wood Elf, Aras, unaware of the crucial role his new friend is destined to play.

Prince Jargas thought he would never learn the secret of his grandsire’s line and his lost heritage. He never suspected the answer might lie in a Dwarven dungeon or that it could cost him the life of his beloved twin sister, Jarina.

Young apprentice trader Rion and his guard, Tarrell, thought Athanark would be their new home until they met Talon and Aras.

Friends become enemies and enemies become friends as new alliances are forged, men die, cities burn, and kingdoms fall. Everyone has secrets, and no one is who or what he seems.

Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4075

Review: This story is part of a series and must be read in order. Talon is devastated when his bonds to both Hunter and Beryl are broken; he is driven to near madness at the thought of both his kinsmen dead. But, the Wood Elf he rescued, Aras, helps to keep him sane and also helps to save his people when unwitting betrayal could lead to the Amontirs downfall. Aras knows far more of the Enemy than he should and is far from the simple Wood Elf than he seems, he will play a pivotal role in the upcoming war. Prince Jargas stumbles across an Amontir when seeking to reunite his father’s people; he also learns the secret of the lost heritage of his mother’s line. Rion and Tarrell thought Athanark would be their home but a devastating attack has Talon and Aras coming to their rescue and leading them in a new direction.

This is a great second installment to an epic high fantasy adventure, with allies becoming enemies, bonds being broken and re-forged and doubts and fears being realized. This story continues on from not long after Prelude to War ended, we re-join Talon as he is inexplicable drawn to a small town that is being plagued by wolven. The story then switches to Aras as he leaves his home and sets out on a journey still feeling the bitter sting of his father’s rejection. Then other players come into play, Jargas, Hunter, Beryl, Rion, Tarrell, and Thorn keeping the story flowing and adding many new secrets and revealing hidden details the longer we read.

Trying to describe the details of this story is much too hard to do, there is so much going on, and that many secrets being hidden that it is a very heavy story to read. Trying to keep track of the multiple characters and the details that each are hoarding can get confusing. And, then there are the characters themselves some we know and new ones being introduced adding to the heavy weight as many of them have two names we must keep track of. This really is a story that will drag you into a world of mystery, intrigue, and danger with characters that come alive as you read about them and with a storyline that is soaked in detail.

I have to recommend this to those that love heavy high fantasy, mystery, intrigue, new secrets being revealed, friends and enemies becoming blurred, danger, hope, fear and anger and with new twists coming to the fore. 



Prelude to War by Maria Albert

PreludetoWarLGTitle: Prelude to War

Series: Descent of Kings 01

Author: Maria Albert

Genre: High Fantasy

Length: Super Novel (380pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (22nd April 2013)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥4 ½ Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: “Never make a mistake, Beryl. Never, in your youth or ignorance or arrogance, do something that might endanger your people, that might cause others harm.”
– Elven Prince Eladar

Eladar, second son of the Elven King of Riviera, can never atone for his disastrous initial foray into the Lands of Men, but he yet hopes to make his family proud. Before his simple mission to meet Prince Talon of the shattered kingdom of Amontir is done, he saves lives and takes them, finds love, and stands to lose all he holds most dear as he leads Talon’s cousin, Beryl, to sanctuary amongst his people.

Caravan guard Alnas is searching for an unconventional love and thinks he’s found it in Hardred, but he must first overcome the former mariner’s tragic past. Neither man dreams their act of kindness in freeing Master Trader Oberas’s snagged cargo vessel will trigger events that alter the fate of their world.

The destinies and lives of these men and others become inescapably intertwined with that of Rion, son of a minstrel and a City Guard, in a world about to be consumed by war. Their trials and tragedies, mistakes, and triumphs will either save the world or destroy it.

Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3833

Review: Eladar, Talon, Beryl, Alnas, Hardred, Oberas and Rion are all main characters in this book. We are introduced to each character and their lives in this excellently woven fantasy. Eladar is given the task of meeting Talon, but Talon is late. Alnas and Hardred come to Oberas’s aid on the river. Eladar saves Hardred’s life, when he drowns. This is just the beginning of the journey that brings these men together, throughout the story in adventures, danger, rescues, love and loss.

Well, this is a very complex story that is just the beginning of a fantastic series. There are many characters that we follow as they journey across land and sea: each on their own journey, but crossing paths with other characters that will affect their lives. The story begins with Hardred and Alnas working as guards on a caravan, when they come across a boat stuck in the river. They lend a hand to Oberas, but Hardred disappears while chopping down an underwater tree. We are then introduced to Eladar, a water elf, who is waiting for his brother’s friend. He pulls Hardred from the water and revives him, just as Talon and his cousin Beryl show up. They join up briefly with the land caravan and water caravan and we discover Oberas and Eladar are previously acquainted. We then head straight to the town where they are all heading, Ardock, and young Rion who wants to be an apprentice trader with Oberas.

This story jumps from character to character, but shows it clearly. It also jumps from place to place. so we could be in the forest, water or town depending on who we visit next. Although we learn some of what is happening, there is much left unsaid. Just who are Talon and Beryl? Just who is their Enemy? What is going on? This story is just what it says it is, the prelude. We get to know the characters, some of their back stories and we know that something evil is coming, but we don’t know what roles they will play in the future. We become invested in the characters, as we discover more about them. But, we are left with the mystery of why they are so important. There is danger, rescues, escapes, death, loss, fear, anger, happiness, developing love and young crushes.

This isn’t the sort of story to read if you want something light and easy to read. There are many threads to this story that twist and twine around the characters. There are also many more characters that we meet who will probably also be important to future books and there are three more to come. This story is a bit confusing. especially with names, as some characters have more than one. You also begin to wonder where the story is going, because it is complex with the different species of humanoids; water elves, wood elves, humans, Amontirs, the Enemy and nothing seems to get answered. This is just the beginning and it is a book that is a great story, but it isn’t a story that is finished. Not by a long shot. There is much more to come before we have all the answers and it will be littered with danger, loss, hope and love.

I will recommend this story to those who love high fantasy, a complex in-depth storyline, new budding relationships and an ending that leaves you wanting more.