This paranormal series picks up after all of the momentous changes in the previous trilogy. This particular story is not quite as dark as some of the previous tales (although it has some violence and its share of gory scenes) but it definitely opens up quite a few storylines even as it takes an abrupt and surprising turn. Arenadd has always been a little difficult for me to sympathize with but there is no denying that he and the griffin Skandar are memorable even though I cringe at the depth of violence they can sink to. This story showcases the author’s impressive ability to create a nicely developed world populated by complex characters who are often unwillingly forced into roles that they have to grow into. The interesting developments depicted in this tale set the stage for even more upheavals in the harsh world populated by these captivating characters and I look forward to seeing what new developments are birthed from this author’s labyrinthine imagination!
“The Shadow’s Heir” by K.J. Taylor is the initial title in ‘The Risen Sun’ series and continues the sometimes somber tale started in ‘The Fallen Moon’ trilogy. The North is populated by the freed slaves and ruled by Arenadd Taranisaii who has his companion, the griffin Skandar, but feels constricted by his role as ruler. Laela Redguard had always felt outcast because of her obvious similarities to the Northern people and after the death of the man who she considered her adoptive father she elects to travel to the Northern kingdom where she will stand out only because of her blue eyes and lack of familiarity with the customs of the land. Her remarkable encounter with a stranger results in an unimaginable change in her life but she continues to be conflicted between the teachings she was raised with and those of her new home. Arenadd knows all about life-changing decisions and the unlikely pair may find a way to change the destinies of all who have sought refuge in the harsh North.
Laela Redguard was born with the black hair of the Northern kingdom and the blue eyes of the Southern people, forever marking her as a hated half-breed child of both. When her only family tie is severed, the fierce and strong-willed Laela decides to leave her adoptive father’s home in the hopes of finding acceptance in the North, where the ruthless King Arenadd and the dark griffin Skandar rule.
While Laela’s Northern features allow her to blend into the crowds of the King’s seat at Malvern, she cannot avoid falling victim to a pair of common thugs. When a stranger saves her life and gives her a place to stay, Laela is shocked to learn he is Arenadd himself—a man said to be a murderer who sold his soul to the Night God—the King without a heart.
Arenadd is unsure what compels him to help this girl, but there is something about her that seems familiar, something he cannot remember—something that may rise up to banish the darkness forever…