The Lyre Thief by Jennifer Fallon is a fantasy that caught me completely by surprise. While there are plenty of meddling gods and kingdoms on the brink of war, the story is really about two girls who trade places and get caught up in all sorts of adventures as they try to survive their new lives. This is apparently a new series in the world of the Hythrun Chronicles and I now really need to go back and read the original series, given my love of this new addition.
Note: I received an advanced copy of The Lyre Thief from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Lyre Thief by Jennifer Fallon (War of the Gods #1)
Published by Tor Books on March 8th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Page Length: 448 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Ten years have passed since the events of the Demon Child books that left the god Xaphista dead, the nation Karien without a religion or king and the matriarchal country of Medalon ruled by men. But it is in the kingdoms of the south that things really heat up. When Princess Rakaia of Fardohnya discovers she is not of royal birth, she agrees to marry a much older Hythrun noble in a chance to escape her 'father's wrath. Rakaia takes nothing but her jewels and her base-born half-sister, Charisee, who has been her slave, handmaiden and best friend since she was six years old. And who can pass as Rakaia's double.
These two sisters embark on a Shakespearian tale of switched identities, complicated love triangles...and meddlesome gods. Rakaia is rescued on the road by none other than the Demon Child, R'shiel, still searching for a way to force Death to release her near immortal Brak. Charisee tries to act like the princess she was never meant to be and manages to draw the attention of the God of Liars who applauds her deception and only wants tohelp.
Then there is the little matter of the God of Music's magical totem that has been stolen...and how this theft may undo the universe.
- The first thing that struck me as I got into this story was the vividness of these characters. None of them felt like the same old fantasy characters you encounter every other book. The princess and the slave both embody their traditional tropes and break out of those molds as they take on new roles. The assassin with a soft spot for orphans and abandoned dogs, though, really caught my immediate attention ;-).
- I didn’t expect the main characters to actually be two girls, a princess and her slave, who swap places Prince and the Pauper style! I always have an easier time with a story if there is at least one female character that leads some of the plot, so I was thrilled to get to know Rakaia and Charisee. They aren’t perfect by any means, but that just made me love them more.
- It is obvious from reading this book that the world of this series is vast and fascinating. I kept encountering unexpected tidbits of culture and history that flies in the face of fantasy tropes and I couldn’t get enough. This is the main thing that makes me determined to go back to the original series, since I just don’t want to leave this world!
- The main thing that caught my attention before I started Lyre Thief is the series title: War of the Gods. I love warring and fallible gods, so I couldn’t resist. I am happy to report that these gods are deliciously meddlesome and entertaining. I also love that some of them directly interact with their ardent followers and some keep their distance. But all like to be worshipped through action rather than prayer, which is fun to watch for, say, the God of Lies….
- Everything is pretty morally ambiguous in this plot. I suspected who the ‘villain’ was, but there really isn’t any good or bad guy here. Everyone’s actions make perfect sense for the situation that they were in, and just because they don’t all agree, doesn’t mean anyone is really in the wrong. I love morally ambiguous characters!
- Though this is a longer book, I never found myself bored. I ended up reading it in just a couple of days because I looked for any excuse to read. The pacing is such that there is always something interesting going on or a new mystery that you need to know the answer to.
- There were times when I could tell that I hadn’t read the previous series and was missing references that other readers would probably find meaningful. I was never really confused, but I knew that I wasn’t as familiar with some of these gods and historical events as I would have liked. A glossary would really be nice….
- I’m a stickler for modern phrases slipping in to fantasy — as happened occasionally here — since it just throws me out of the mind set, even if it isn’t actually our world. They just don’t sound right, you know?
The Lyre Thief is a fantastic read for readers unfamiliar with Fallon’s previous series and I assume even more fantastic for previous fans. I’m so excited for this new series, since it allowed me to find a new author to love. Now if you don’t mind, I’m off to the library to find a copy of Medalon!
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
The Lyre Thief by Jennifer Fallon
© 2016, Anya. All rights reserved.