“The Heirs of Lydin” is a fantasy journey of truly epic proportions. Hennessy weaves together immense world building alongside a large cast of main and supporting characters, with a magic system that, while familiar, still feels right at home in the world Hennessy presents to his readers. The story does follow the formula you see most often in these hero journeys with a “prophesized one” but I didn’t mind it as I liked the mystery of who the true Heir of Lydin was, and why if the Heir is supposed to be some sort of savior character that the people this prophesized hero is supposed to lead, would work so hard to kill the Heir before they could fulfill whatever this prophecy is. While I enjoyed this epic fantasy, there were a few things that kept me from really loving it. But Hennessy does include elves and a slew of other fantasy based creatures in his world, and you know me, I’m a sucker for elves.
Let me start by saying how much I enjoyed the world building in this novel. Hennessy sat down and drew a map of his world, labeled all the places, figured out all the different races that inhabit his world, and then figured out where those people lived in a way that made total sense, both with the kinds of people who live in these various lands, and how long it takes his characters to travel. I really appreciate that level of detail as it makes the world feel all the more immersive, and outside of a few instances that felt like a data dump early on in the story, Hennessy allows the reader to discover these lands alongside his main characters so the world building, for the most part, feels organic. All in all, Hennessy’s attention to detail created a world with some serious Shannara Chronicles vibes.
My only real “issue” with this novel is with the cultists and villains that are present in the story. I won’t give anything away that may be considered a spoiler, but the foes who hunt Bellaydin and Polnygar are exceptionally good at hounding them. Like to the point that these assassins know where these siblings are, and where they are going, before the siblings themselves. It just felt too improbable for me to find it believable (I know, believability in a fantasy story? But, well, yes!) and it often times took me out of the flow of the plot, and had me rolling my eyes. There is a fun mystery around who these cultists are, and what their ultimate goal is, but they were just too good at tracking our main characters down and causing them grief, especially when the main characters have no clue what’s going on, or why.
This did lead to the ending, where things are still murky as to what’s going on and who is pulling the strings behind the scenes. There are hints of massive betrayals and epic showdowns on the horizon, which makes me really excited for the next book in the series, but I would have liked a few more questions to have been answered going into the next book. “The Heirs of Lydin” does a great job setting up for what’s to come next, but I would have appreciated it if it also felt like more of its own complete story. But it’s certainly not enough to keep me from wanting to read the next book (which is already out!).
If you are a fan of well thought out high fantasy novels that follow along with a hero/prophecy story, then you’re going to like this novel. It does require a reader who is more patient though, so despite the ages of the main characters (Bellaydin felt more like a 15 year-old to me then 18), this book is better suited to avid readers who are willing to sit down and put the time into it, as it’s not a quick read, but a rewarding one nonetheless. Also, and this is more of just a personal preference of mine but is something you see fantasy stories being guilty of most often, the names of most characters really threw me. They are so … fantasy based that I often tripped over them, trying to figure out how to say them. It would have felt odd if the characters were named “Bob” and “Susy”, but still, trying to figure out how to say Polnygar’s name each time it comes up always slowed me down…. That being said, I did enjoy this book as Hennessy is a wonderful fantasy author! I’m giving this a well-deserved 4.25 stars. Thank you so much to the author for providing me with a copy!
Click the book images to see them on Amazon!