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Heir of Autumn [Mass Market Paperback]

Giles Carwyn , Todd Fahnestock

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Eos; Reprint edition (1 Nov 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060829761
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060829766
  • Product Dimensions: 3.4 x 10.7 x 16.9 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,604,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed but compelling debut 12 July 2006
By the_smoking_quill - Published on Amazon.com
I started Heir of Autumn with skepticism because (1) it's a first novel (2) by two guys who've been friends since high school (3) that begins with a nubile young woman fondling herself as part of her sorcerous training. A few times during the first few chapters, I considered returning it to the library and writing it off as another botched heroic fantasy epic.

Fortunately, I read on.

The bulk of the story occurs in the fabled city-state of Ohndarien, the "jewel of the known world," founded as the dream of four families and ruled by their descendents, The Children of the Seasons, who comprise an eight-member council (one man and woman representing each season/house). The story revolves around the titular character, Brophy, and the struggle by him and his allies against political intrigue within Ohndarien; the threat of invasion by the kingdom from which the city-state succeeded; and the curse of a fallen city of sorcerers manifested in the form of a dreaming child. (In this and other ways, the tale is reminiscent of George Martin's A Game of Thrones: a civil war erupts against the backdrop of a supernatural threat (the Others in Martin's saga).)

To reveal more of plot would be both difficult and spoiling, though this raises one of the main flaws in the novel. Rarely is an epic fantasy novel too short, but Heir is. The story moves at breakneck speed--few paragraphs are longer than three sentences--and the development of characters and emotional resonance falters as a result. (In the opening chapters, the plot also seems to drive the characters, instead of vice versa.) In 465 pages of lean paragraphs are the introduction of the main characters and a tour of Ohndarien; rape; an ambassador's visit; a sorcerous graduation; a smorgasbord of sex (warranting an NC-17 rating); false accusations; exile; gladiatorial training and games; abundant plots and counter-plots; secret passages for numerous escapes; cave diving; post-hypnotic commands; magical swords; siege; war; gallons of blood; and true heroism. For many readers, the pace may be a good thing, but those who like to savor deep, rich draughts of fantasy (like the works of Patricia McKillip and Guy Gavriel Kay) may find Heir too airy.

That said, the authors deserve special commendation for such a rewarding culmination to the epic's first book. Heir's strength is its plot, as the authors sometimes show their inexperience through info-dumps (including at least one instance of the infamous "As we both know ..." device in a conversation between two characters on p. 29), weakness in handling points of view (including the relegation of some important scenes and events off-stage), and uneven dialogue (including a fondness for unnecessary dialogue tags--"`Gods!"' [he] cursed). In addition to the pacing, dialogue is Heir's largest flaw: sometimes the characters sound like the otherworldly heroes they aspire to be; sometimes they sound like test-readers for a teenage TV melodrama. Unless the authors weave a similarly strong plot into the sequel--something that would be remarkable--these flaws will have to be mended to produce a comparable effort.

I recommend Martin's A Game of Thrones and Greg Keyes's The Briar King above Heir, which lacks the resonance and craftsmanship of the former and the intricate world-building of the latter. Still, Heir is a worthwhile read for mature fans of heroic fantasy and, for those with the pocket change, is worth considering as a new purchase. A good debut. Four stars.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A solid debut 1 April 2008
By Andrew Gray - Published on Amazon.com
Heir of Autumn is a debut novel by authors Giles Carwyn and Todd Fahnestock. Evidently, this is the first book of a series but all the places I have checked I can not tell what the series is called. I do know that the second book, Mistress of Winter, is already released. Beyond that, there is little information available about this series.

The plot of this book centers on the city of Ohndarien and it's rulers called The Children of Seasons. The plot talks, briefly, about how someone `of the blood' can take the test to take over and become one of the Children. There is the subplot that the current Children of the Seasons have been missing for some time after undertaking a quest. There are a great deal of political sub plots immersed in this book, both in the city of Ohndarien as well as another nation. There is also a sub plot that one of the characters gets put into where he must compete in a grueling game called `Nine Squares'. Oddly enough, this subplot involving the game, and the character were the most interesting part of the novel to me. The overall plot seems well thought out, however, it does suffer from a few mistakes that can mostly be attributed to a debut novel. I will cover those in a second though.

The characters are hard to judge for me. At times, I liked the characters quite a bit. However, there were other times that I was not really caring about them. One minor character, Scythe, seems to steal the show every time he appears in the pages. It doesn't seem to be an intentional act by the authors, more so as just how powerful and fun the character really is. The main characters are Brophy, who's father is one of the Children of the Seasons and is next in line to some day take the Test. Another character is Shara who is a cross between a courtesan and a mage - deriving her powers from acts of intimacy. (I must say, this is a very interesting take of developing powers, and once you grasp the concept and it makes sense - it does add some interesting things to the characters.) Along the way there are an assortment of other characters that come and go, but those two are the main characters of the story and events largely focus on them. While I enjoyed Brophy and Shara as characters for the most part, they seemed to be inconsistent at times. What I mean by that is, at times they seem young, nave, and whiny, yet the next scene they seem to have many answers and be wise beyond their years. If they were one or the other, I do not think it would have bothered me as much. But having the characters be inconsistent on such a wide spectrum does not work very well for the story.

Some of my criticisms about this novel are:

1 - The inconsistent character actions. It goes beyond Brophy and Shara and continues throughout the entire novel. It was disappointing, at times, to think - as a reader - I understand the character and their motivations only for them to completely go against what they should do just to benefit the story.

2 - The dialogue in this book is at times fantastic and then other times it amounts to nothing less than an information dump by the authors to make sure the reader understands key points. Being that this novel can be classified as more adult orientated the authors should not have to hold the readers hand to make sure they get the key points and that is how I felt at times.

3 - There is a lot that happens in this novel, but at times the story seems to wander a little bit. It seems that this novel may have benefited from removing a few of the side plots and side stories to really tighten it up some. Some of the scenes in the book appear to be there for no reason; however, this may be wrong if those scenes play apart in the next novel.

Some of the things that I enjoyed about this novel are:

1 - The pacing of this book is very good. It moves along at a solid pace and rarely slows. It's quite impressive that the authors were able to continue the pacing throughout the entire novel, with nary slowing down.

2 - The world, or at least the parts we are introduced to, is written well and seems to have a good deal of history behind it. This history gives credence to some of the characters dialogue and pieces of the story

3 - The ending. I wish I could say more, but I don't want to spoil anything. But, I really enjoyed the ending and how things came together.

Even with its flaws, and remembering that this is a debut novel, Heir of Autumn is a solid read. There are a few clichés hidden within the pages, but they are cleverly done and don't stand out too much. With the sheer amount of fantasy novels being published this book can easily be dismissed and pushed to the back burner. However, when all is said and done, I think it's a decent enough novel. It may not be the first fantasy novel I would recommend to someone, but I can see myself recommending this novel to people from time to time. I do know, the ending of this book, makes me want to go out and purchase the second novel - which I will most likely do soon.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lovely epic 16 Sep 2007
By Neker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The story of a young boy turned man waaaay too soon. Brophy is the epitome of the good, trusting, responsible kid. At fifteen his two best friends are a twenty year old girl who is part of a sex cult and an eighteen year old boy who is known for his cruelty and lies. Yet, Brophy stands by them, loves them, forgives them even when one accuses him for their own horrible crimes. When he is cast out of the home and city he loves, nearly dies, and is thrown into another situation that could mean him his life, Brophy tries to take the good, honest road and again is scorned and nearly looses his life. Yet, the reader cannot help but cheer for him. I called to him to not ever give up. To never change. Even though we ourselves live in a jaded world with beattened down heros, I wanted to live in Brothy's world and believe in him.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Comment on dialogue and mood 9 July 2006
By M. Lanser - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the first that I have posted any kind of comment on any book from Amazon, so I am sensitive to the fact that this is also a first novel as well. I suppose I am speaking up because I actually find some very good elements in this book in terms of structure, pace and device, and now and then an exceptionally good moment in language -or- in image, but not quite both together yet.

There are too many instances, in this novel, when the dialogue lurches across the line from polished and in character, to floundering juvenile, out of character, prattle. I don't know how it happens, and it really does not matter, but I do hope the authors can find a reader to help them get that apparently habitual glitch under control in time for the next phase of the story.

That shortfall shattered the mood and interrupted the pacing sufficiently for me as an objective reader so that I wanted to give this book a 2 star rating in honor of the aggravation caused by the dissonance, but my heart could not do what my head said should be done. I enjoyed the overall premise of the story and its execution too much.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, tension-filled plot 15 Feb 2006
By Xiwei Lu - Published on Amazon.com
I'm a pretty avid fantasy reader, and for some time now, I have been disenchanted with a lot of the new fantasies that have been released. NOT the case with this book. Heir of Autumn is un-putdown-able from the start, with characters that leap out of the pages and conflicts that seem impossible to fix until the very end, when the authors skillfully pull everything together into one dramatic finale. You know a book is good when you find yourself feeling elated, frustrated, enraged, and sad at the same times as the main characters. That, coupled with the original world the authors have created (Nine Squares has got to be one of the most interesting games I've ever read about), makes Heir of Autumn a must-read for anyone who loves fantasy--or just good storytelling.
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