01/04/2009. Contributed by Kelly Jensen
pub: Eos/HarperCollins. 608 pages paperback. Price: $ 7.99 (US). ISBN: 0-0-6082-976-1.
check out websites: http://www.harpercollins.com/search/index.aspx?kw=eos and www.carwynfahnestock.com
'Heir Of Autumn' is a coming of age tale following the trials and tribulations of young Brophy, the fifteen year-old Heir of Autumn. When his city, Ohndarien, is threatened from within by his aunt's lover, the current Brother of Autumn, Krellis and from without by Krellis' brother and sworn enemy, Phandir, Brophy takes fate into his own hands.
But in this fantasy for grown-ups, other characters actually have a bearing on the main plot, taking Brophy's quest and turning it into the trial that will enable him to find the strength he needs to defeat Krellis and save his city.
Sexy and bloodthirsty, the story starts in a familiar way with a prologue. A tale reminiscent of a scary bedtime story halted just before everyone dies leads into our first chapter, which features a naked woman. From here, the book heads back into more familiar territory describing the friendship between Brophy and Krellis' son, Trent. A word of warning here: while I found most of the characters intriguing and imbued with their own well-developed and unique personalities, I wasn't prepared for the cavalier attitude with which the authors do away with them! People die in this book and not always the ones you expect.
The plotting is usually solid. Ample time was spent on Brophy's training for the barbaric Nine Squares competition while he is 'prisoner' of Phandir's Kingdom. I did have issues with his relationship with the foreign queen, Phandir's wife. She was my least favourite character and I suspect the most difficult for the pair to write. Brophy seemed young for such an adult relationship, but I can't pretend to know the mind (urges?) of a fifteen year-old boy.
'Heir Of Autumn' is the first instalment of the Heartstone Trilogy. It is an absorbing novel and one that I felt was a complete story with a satisfying conclusion which is well deserved after 550 plus pages. However, it will be interesting to see how evil re-awakens in the follow-up novels with both been released and are currently available.
While not without its faults, this is a heck of a debut novel for the authors Giles Carwyn and Todd Fahnestock. According to the author bio, they met in high school and have been best friends ever since. They seem to write with a single voice, one that will hopefully remained joined, though I'd be tempted to read any solo projects. You can read more about the authors and the other novels of the Heartstone Trilogy at their website: www.carwynfahnestock.com.
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