Review: The Heir of Night by Helen Lowe


The Heir of Night

Book One of The Wall of Night

by Helen Lowe

Fantasy | 435 Pages | Published by Orbit in 2012

| Rating |

4 and a half Stars

I first came across The Heir of Night whilst perusing a bookshop and bought it purely based on its cover… which happened to have a sale sticker on it at the time. Having now read both The Heir of Night and its sequel, The Gathering of the Lost, I am very glad I gave into impulse. Ignore your misgivings. Yes, this is another coming of age fantasy. Yes, the protagonist is a thirteen year old girl. And yes, this book is setting the scene for the rest of the series to come. But The Heir of Night is really rather an enjoyable read.

Malian, our young heroine, is the Heir of Night – the ruling house of the Derai. The Derai, a hardened and battle scarred people, are garrisoned on the northern most mountains – The Wall of Night. Here, they are charged with protecting the lands to the south from The Swarm, their ancient foe.

When the Darkswarm rise once more, the Derai must find a way to fight their powerful and demonic enemies. But time and the wilful, volatile Derai may have crippled their advantage in this ancient feud. For those destined to be warriors must forsake all magic and those born with magic must never fight. How can they possibly stand up to enemies who harness both?

Malian must join with Kalan, a young priest from the Temple of Night, to embrace her destiny and fight the threat of the Darksworm; for if Night falls, all will fall. The fate of the world might just be hanging in the balance.

Helen Lowe’s first book of The Wall of Night is a tale of darkness and magic; of ancient and buried secrets and of bravery and heroism – and the more I read, the more I couldn’t put it down! The characters are well drawn, the writing is rich and fluid and the world is distinctive and vibrant. Malian may seem older than her thirteen years, her thoughts and actions seem distinctly adult, but this only helped me connect more to her as a character, and quite frankly I think I prefer it that way.  There are also enough adult characters who are thoroughly engaging and pivotal to the storyline to bridge the gap between young adult and adult fiction.

The Heir of Night is certainly armed with more than a handful of descriptive passages but if you’re anything like me, they add to the story and the world is richer for them. I love discovering a new land with new people. I love the descriptions of castles and palaces, of towns and cities. I love opening my senses to the sights, sounds and smells of a whole new world. Maybe I’m biased, but I love worldbuilding. If the writing is good – take me there! If descriptive writing (and the odd dream sequence) isn’t your bag, this may not be the book for you. But I for one will be buying Helen Lowe’s next book.

The review for the The Gathering of the Lost – Book Two of The Wall of Night can be found here

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