It is bad enough to be the son of a traitor, and worse to be the half-breed son of a traitor. Kyrian will find it worse yet to be a fugitive, and strangest of all to be the heir of Ariad. In The Heir of Ariad, Niki Florica crafts an archetypal fantasy with chosen heroes, strange creatures, and quests that carry the fate of the world. The plot is modeled loosely after the story of Moses, with verses from Exodus frequently heading chapters, and the mystical Woodsman parallels Christ. The book’s world-building is vivid and comprehensive. Races of starkly different natures inhabit the same world uneasily, and the stone-like stworfs and half-sentient river offer both fascination and menace. Although the story moves slowly at times, with backward glances, The Heir of Ariad is a richly imaginative fantasy.
Best for: Young-adult audiences, fantasy fans.
Discern: One brutal brawl; a child is nearly killed by his bullying classmates; one character experiences periods of insanity in which he turns violent; a soldier repeatedly strikes an old man who seems to be suffering from dementia.