In the sequel to Crown of Three (2015, with the author writing as J.D. Blackthorn), three young, white rulers-to-be fight undead hordes while trying to regain their inheritance.
When the lost heir is triplets, there's thrice the opportunity for cliché-packed heroic journeys. This high-fantasy quest begins midbattle, as the undead king massacres and zombifies an entire town. Evil King Brutan's prophesied babies were secreted away and raised separately. Now, 13 years later, Gulph is an acrobat, Elodie is a princess, and Tarlan is a feral lad raised with beasts. The three of them journey around the map of fantasyland, each learning about his or her own magical abilities. Tarlan (who speaks with animals) travels to the borders of the known world with the ancient wizard Melchior and fights a gratuitously invading army. Elodie (who talks to ghosts) sneakily spies on her wicked foster parents, who have creepily incestuous plans for her. Gulph (who can turn invisible) finds a long-lost realm where his allies seem to forget everything, even their own names. The trail of corpses seen and left by these 13-year-olds seems endless; Tarlan kills hundreds of soldiers with a single sword stroke. A heavy hand with the well-worn tropes of the genre replaces character development, and choppy, exclamation-point–laden prose stands in for the buildup of real tension.
This middle volume may make a zany-if-dark pulp TV movie, but as a novel, it’s only for high-fantasy addicts
. (Fantasy. 11-12)