A spoiled princess and her dwarf slave prove surprisingly effective adversaries against a host of contenders for power in Fallon’s saga of forbidden love and revenge, the first in a trilogy.
The Demon Child trilogy (Medalon, 2004, etc.) and the Wolfblade Trilogy launched with this volume are both part of Fallon’s over-arching Hythrun Chronicles. Here, a complicated series of political dealings result in the marriage of Princess Marla Wolfblade, barely 16, to Laran Krakenshield, one of the Warlords of Hythria. Too bad Marla’s not in love with him—that honor goes to the dashing Nash Hawksword, who could be the princess’s Achilles heel if the maneuvers of expertly sneaky Alija Eaglespike succeed. Much skullduggery ensues, and for a few hundred pages, Fallon is happy to simply keep throwing out characters and schemes until the narrative achieves a critical mass of paranoid confusion. In the process, she neglects the culture of slaves and court’esa (sexual servants for the nobility) that provides the book’s most interesting scenes. The story finally gels with some shockingly cold-blooded betrayals and the looming prospect of war.
Rote setting and unnecessarily dense exposition, enlivened by Fallon’s teeming imagination.