Published by Macmillan on March 8th 2016
Genres: Epic, Fantasy, Fiction
Ten years have passed since the events of the Demon Child books that left the god Xaphista dead, the nation Karien without a religion or king and the matriarchal country of Medalon ruled by men. But it is in the kingdoms of the south that things really heat up. When Princess Rakaia of Fardohnya discovers she is not of royal birth, she agrees to marry a much older Hythrun noble in a chance to escape her 'father's wrath. Rakaia takes nothing but her jewels and her base-born half-sister, Charisee, who has been her slave, handmaiden and best friend since she was six years old. And who can pass as Rakaia's double.These two sisters embark on a Shakespearian tale of switched identities, complicated love triangles...and meddlesome gods. Rakaia is rescued on the road by none other than the Demon Child, R'shiel, still searching for a way to force Death to release her near immortal Brak. Charisee tries to act like the princess she was never meant to be and manages to draw the attention of the God of Liars who applauds her deception and only wants to help. Then there is the little matter of the God of Music's magical totem that has been stolen...and how this theft may undo the universe.Powerful magics, byzantine politics, sweeping adventure, and a couple of juicy love stories thrown in for good measure, The Lyre Thief is classic Fallon that is sure to appeal to her fans.
The Lyre Thief by Jennifer Fallon is the first book in the Hythrun Chronicles series and once I started this book, I had a tough time putting it down. Fallon created a story that took me on a journey right along with her characters and once I hit the last page, I wanted the next book so I could see what happens next.
The world that Fallon has developed here is built around her characters and she did a wonderful job of exposing the different customs and beliefs along the way. What I didn’t get was a solid understanding of the world these characters lived in but in the end, I don’t think it hurt the story at all. Each chapter is from another character’s point of view and as the story moves forward, it all ultimately ties together and I have to say, Fallon did a great job of creating a story that not only provides the reader with the whole picture but the way she brought all the different pieces together was great.
The main story is that of Rakaia, the daughter of the King of Fardohnya. She has been betrothed to a King in Hyrthria as part of a treaty and because there are secrets her mother has been keeping, she will do whatever she can to get away from the harem quickly. As she and her sister (base born so not acknowledged as royalty) Charisee make their voyage, Rakaia puts Charisee in a position that she has no way out of.
As Rakaia and Cherisee ultimately end up on separate paths, their stories are destined to intersect again and I loved how it happened. In the end, while Rakaia has done something fairly selfish, she wasn’t just thinking of herself. She wanted more for Cherisee and thought they could both get something out of the arrangement. Granted, she went about it in a way that wasn’t fair to Cherisee but I can see where she was coming from.
One of the other pieces of the story I enjoyed was the way the Gods were integrated into it. Everyone worships a God and when Cherisee came face to face with Jakerlon (the God of Liars) I loved how he not only explained everything to her but also got Cherisee to realize it is in her best interest to embrace her situation and make the best of it.
One of the pieces of the story that was left fairly open ended was what was going to happen with R’shiel. As the Demon Child, she is different from everyone else but she has been on a mission for a while now to find the man she loves. The only thing she knows is that Death has him and she is willing to do whatever it takes to get to Brak and potentially bring him back…no matter what the price.
As I mentioned, all of the characters in this story are linked and eventually their stories become intertwined. I’ve only mentioned a few here but there are probably 10 different character’s points of view that are covered and despite that, the story doesn’t get confusing. I admit that there were some definite aha moments as things started to come together and in the end, I really enjoyed this book. If you are looking for a solid fantasy that happens to be a very character driven story, consider checking this book out. I am looking forward to the next book in this series and will definitely be checking out the other books that Fallon has written as they all appear to link back to this series and will perhaps fill in the blanks on some of the questions I have.
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy!