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Heir of Autumn by Giles Carwyn & Todd Fahnestock
Review by Steve Sawicki
Eos Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 0060829753
Date: 01 February, 2006 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

The city of Ohndarien sits at the crossroads between a tyrant bent on world domination and the world he hopes to dominate. In command of Ohndarien is the tyrant's brother and the remnants of the old ruling group, the Children of the Seasons. The Children of the Seasons consists of four men and four women who have each taken a test which requires that they slam a piece of diamond into their heart and survive. But the Children of the Seasons are missing three of their members and have had to make sacrifices in the interim that has produced significant complications which could lead to the fall of Ohndarien. Armies approach and things look grim.

This is an interesting book set in a richly created fantasy world with some intriguing characters and settings. As with most fantasies, this book relies on an adolescent protagonist to do the heavy lifting. This is not a problem until you come to the sex scenes and realize you're dealing with a fifteen year old boy. Brophy is the main character and his aunt is one of the Children of the Seasons and his father was also a Child of the Seasons although he left shortly after Brophy was born. Brophy ends up being accused of murder and then exiled from Ohndarien. This begins the steps to his rebirth and the beginning of peril for the city. Coupled with Brophy's story is the story of Sharra, his age mate who has been chosen to be a priestess of a cult of magicians that use sex as the energy for their magic. While this is interesting there is some content around this that some readers might find troubling as it involves rape and sexual torture. I understand the use of this kind of thing as a motivator and, in fact, it's creeping more and more into fantasy novels as a motivator for women but I still find it troubling.

There's plenty going on in this book and the pacing is a bit frantic in some spots although the whole thing works incredibly well, unless you get tired of protagonists being able to do too many impossible things before breakfast. Still, this balance between what makes one heroic and what makes one just special is a delicate one and one that I'm willing to be somewhat forgiving on when it comes to moving the plot forward.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and found myself wanting to keep reading as I got closer and closer to the end. This is supposed to be part of a new series but this book reads perfectly fine as a stand alone. I'll certainly be looking out for the next one.

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