Nightborn by Lou Anders is a middlegrade story of two friends off on amazing adventures including a Roman-esque civilization on the brink of war, a dragon or three, and a new friend! Nightborn is the sequel to Frostborn, but could be read independently quite easily and there aren’t really any spoilers to worry about ;-). One of the goal’s of Nightborn is to be a middlegrade story that boys and girls can both enjoy, and I’d say it succeeds quite well at that!
Note: I received an advanced copy of Nightborn from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Nightborn by Lou Anders (Thrones and Bones #2)
Published by Crown on July 14th, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, MG
Page Length: 368 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Karn Korlundsson is a gamer. Not a riddle solver. But in order to rescue his best friend, Thianna Frostborn, he will need to travel to the faraway city of Castlebriar (by wyvern), learn how to play a new board game called Charioteers (not a problem), decipher the Riddle of the Horn, and tangle with mysterious elves.
Meet Desstra. She’s in training to join the Underhand—the elite agents of the dark elves. When she crosses paths with Karn, she is not all that she appears to be.
Everyone is chasing after the horn of Osius, an ancient artifact with the power to change the world. The lengths to which Karn will go in the name of friendship will be sorely tested. Who knew that solving a riddle could be so deadly?
- A central theme to Nightborn is the friendship between the two protagonists Karn and Thianna, but also the friendship with a new girl on the scene. I enjoyed how much Nightborn really delved into what it means to be a friend and how important friendship is. It also does a nice job of demonstrating how someone might say they are a friend, but not really be a friend, which I wish I had learned before high school!
- Nightborn takes place mainly in a Roman-inspired city that has chariot races and some crazy creatures. It was fun seeing more historical cultures being brought into this series besides just Norse ;-).
- The world of the Thrones and Bones series continues to expand in Nightborn and I especially enjoyed reading the glossary at the end. It is clear that Anders has dreamt up a lot of the world even if not all of it fits into the main storyline. I love finding out about the rich history that lies under the surface of Karn and Thianna’s adventures and look forward to seeing where things go.
- Nightborn does a great job of showing how just because someone looks different, doesn’t mean they are actually all that different from you. Karn and Thianna start off not trusting Desstra and vice versa, but it turns out they have a lot more in common than they thought ;-).
- Have I mentioned there are dragons?? Thianna can talk to serpents, so that makes her ride on a wyvern especially entertaining. We also get to see Orm again and find out a lot more about my favorite giant dragon. There are a number of other less typical fantasy creatures as well, including a cockatrice!
- You know when you’re reading a plot and things work themselves out in a rather ridiculously easy way? I understand that Nightborn is middle grade, however there were times when I was still wishing Karn had a bit more trouble getting past an obstacle for the sake of the tension.
- Another pet peeve of mine in younger stories is when adults suddenly put children in charge of things that they are not in anyway qualified to handle. Can’t we find a slightly more realistic way of letting the kids go off on an adventure other than really thick adults?
Nightborn is a fun middle grade adventure in a rich fantasy world and great for those young readers sick of gendered books. There are also instructions for board games at the end of each book, which sounds like a great afternoon activity ;-). If you’re looking for a light and fun fantasy adventure or something to give to a young reader after they finish the popular middle grade fantasies, Nightborn is a great choice.
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
Nightborn by Lou Anders
© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.