|The Shadow's Heir, part one of the
Risen Sun series, is set in a land in the years following war between the Day worshiping
South and the Night worshipping North. Laela is an orphaned halfbreed, with a Southern
mother and a Northern father. She was born and raised in the South, but with the features
of a Northman, which leads to an ostracised childhood. When her foster father dies, Laela
sets out to the North to see the land of her father and to find out more about where she
Whilst the plot line isn't original - the orphan with a secret past has been
done many times - K. J. Taylor doesn't ever give the reader a feeling of having covered
the same ground before. The story has several plot twists, some of which are broadcast,
and others seemingly come out of nowhere.
The Shadow's Heir is a compelling and exciting story. The
opening is a little slow, as we get to know Laela, but by the time I was halfway through
chapter three, I was hooked. The characters are vivid and realistic, and the pace does not
relent through the book. K. J. Taylor has the rare gift for a fantasy writer of knowing
how to keep the story moving; when a sea voyage takes a couple of months, she does not
feel the need to describe every day of that time, but allows the action to come through.
Book one is written in such a way as it could be standalone; enough of the major plot
points are wrapped up before the story's end to provide a satisfying read and doesn't
leave the reader feeling that the book has simply stopped at an arbitrary cliff-hanger.
However, there are enough unresolved threads and expectations in the way the book ends to
push the reader on, and I am eagerly looking forward to book two in the series.