Review: The Lyre Thief
Her Serene Highness Rakaia, Princess of Fardohnya, is off to Hythria to marry a brute of a Hythrun Warlord she’s never met and escape the inevitable bloodbath in the harem when her brother takes the throne. She is not interested in marrying anyone and has a plan to save herself if she can just convince her baseborn sister, Charisee, to play along. These two best friends/sisters, though one has been a princess and the other her handmaiden, embark on an adventure of switched identities complete with love triangles and meddlesome gods. Rakaia is rescued by none other than the demon child, R’shiel, who is on her own quest to free her beloved, Brak. Charisee first acts the part, then truly becomes the princess she was never meant to be, which draws the attention of the God of Liars, who is rightly impressed and even helpful.
…And in far off Medalon, someone has stolen the music.
Their quest for the tiny stolen lyre containing the essence of the God of Music will eventually touch all their lives, threaten everything they hold dear, and prove to be far more personal than any of them can imagine.
I read this book a couple of months ago and it fit the bill in two important categories. Firstly, it was what I consider “reliable content.” Secondly, it held my interest all the way to the end…but, to be honest, I remembered little about this book when I sat down to write this review. Maybe if it was one of the first modern fantasies I’d read or there were some new ideas and themes and characterizations I had not seen before, but this is not the case. There is nothing new here and absolutely nothing memorable.
As I have stated before, I can handle more than most picky readers in terms of formulaic content and the often-used medieval fantasy setting. As a matter of fact, I crave one or two of these per year, but hopefully there is something fresh, some new twist or at least some depiction of realistic emotions that make a few hundred pages of escapist reading worthwhile. As pure distraction, this book will do, especially for an older teenage/YA reader who has not been exposed to much literature of this type and for whom certain tropes could be new and exciting. They were for me once! But, alas, I am now a jaded fantasy reader who yearns for much more, as are most of you, I think. My recommendation is to wait-and-see in case Jennifer Fallon’s latest series gets a lot better and, in the meantime, maybe look to Elitist Classics for some truly wonderful places to start your young reader or yourself.
Characterization: good, not great. Plot management: good. Dialogue: meh. Writing: pretty good, sometimes clumsy, but deftly avoids modernisms. Yay. Pacing: not bad. Romance: often strains credulity.
- Recommended Age: 16+
- Language: Almost none
- Violence: Two brief scenes, some gore
- Sex: One scene with detail, many references