Series: Ap'Lydin Chronicles #1
Ever since the brutal murder of his parents at the hands of a cult, Bellaydin Ap’Lydin has spent his entire life as the only human in a land of elves. Here, he and his half-sister Polnygar are barely tolerated, especially by the arrogant Spellweaver Lord Ivellios with his dreams of a purified elven kingdom. But after Polnygar stows away on a visiting envoy’s ship, and Bellaydin is accused of murder, their whole world changes.
Far from home and each other, they form new alliances and face challenges of their own. Assassins and cultists trail the siblings’ every step in the name of their ancestor, General Lydin, and a lost artefact, the Tears of the Divine. As friends and family suffer death and misfortune, and the shadowy Horned God manipulates events from afar, the siblings are drawn into the prophecy of the Heir of Lydin. But is Bellaydin or Polnygar the Heir? Or is that a secret they should leave buried?
Review from Anindita C.
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A Bohemian Mind at Work
An epic Fantasy written in the classic Tolkien-style, with a cluster of Heroes (a heroine too) who may or may not be the said Heirs of Lydin.
I liked the smart cover. I can only speculate that the tree represents the Ap'Lydin genealogy (apple tree?) or the forests of Aderilund.
Races and characters:
The races like Elves (Eldara), Human (Several types) are pretty much same as the usual epic fantasy novels based on Western myth and folklore, but the author has introduced some races inspired by middle eastern countries, a welcome change from the usual. One such example is the Macrodonian empire which remarkably resembles the Egyptian civilization while Quarld is a sultanate of Bedouin tribes (Arabs). Ahkhtarran sounds similar to Akhtar, an Urdu/Arabic name.
The elves, human, lizard men and other beings who follow different Gods and fight against each other for power and vengeance, all in the name of faith.
I found the Goriinchian tribe particularly interesting. They worship the Horned God, whose origin and physical attributes are not very clear in this book, probably by intention. I want to ask the author about his inspiration for the Horned God, though I found plenty of gods or godlike creatures with horns from different folklores of the world (Wiccan, Neopaganism).
The characters of Bellaydin, Polnygar, Augustine are interesting. Bellaydin's character nicely evolves from a teenage boy not fitting anywhere, into a confident, protector of the Ap'lydin house. The book leaves us with the promise of further opportunities of development for the main characters, namely the Ap’Lydin half-siblings.
Ivellios, a spell weaver with a nasty streak, is a fun character, not-so-secretly causing murder and mayhem. I liked (or enjoyed hating) his antics.
Some of the names were difficult to pronounce, a common complaint among fantasy readers. The book has an appendix at the end. I wish pronunciations were suggested there (seriously).
Several topics run together throughout the story.
1. The racial superiority of Elves, frowning upon human or "Mal-halyth" and detesting them for their 'ugliness'.
2. Goriinchians and Emparians at war.
3. Gorinchiians call the lands of Goriinchia and Emparia as Karlicia and want to unite both under one God.
4. A difference of faith serves as the cause of war, a concept that runs parallel with the Crusaders or Jihadis of our world.
5. Wariness of Macrodonians towards magic and resulting witch hunt.
6. Mages pursue an ancient magical artifact
The Ap'lydins are the focus of this novel. One of the present descendants may or may not be the proverbial 'Heir of Lydin' and parties of the religious war are looking for them. The Goriinchians and Emparians fight against each other for the powerplay and authority over the fertile land of Emparia which they both claim to own?
The story starts slow, initially too descriptive, but gradually picks up the tempo as we cross one-third of the book.
The author has a naturally beautiful flow and consistent style of writing. I enjoyed the smooth transitions of POV, particularly mentionable when there are so many characters.
The second half of the book is fast paced, action packed. I loved the chapter when Bellaydin rescues William from the Gorinchiian clutches. The battle sequences in Castle Wishapton remind me of Peter Jackson's LOTR, the scene on the defence of Helm's Deep precisely.
I would have loved it if the first half had matched the action of the second. I do and want to read the next in line, trusting that the plot will be more gripping since there is so much more left in the story.
I like maps so thanks, Aidan Hennessy for including them.
I hope to see Morgan, the Gorinschiian war chief's daughter in a larger role next book. I wonder when we will get to know the characters who had appeared in the Prologue.
The Heirs of Lydin is first of the series The Ap'Lydin Chronicles, leaving us hints of exciting possibilities of betrayal, hot pursuit, and excellent fight scenes.
This book is perfect for a long weekend after a tough week, a mug of hot chocolate and a blanket (all good books should come with blankets, don't you think?). If you want a lighter version of GOT with some humour, this is your book.
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