Blood of Aenarion by William King – Advanced Review [Lord of the Night]
Lord of the Night reviews the anticipated first novel of the Tyrion and Teclis trilogy, Blood of Aenarion, by the returning William King, author of Gotrek and Felix and the Saga of Ragnar Blackmane.
“A superb return to Black Library by legendary author, William King.”
~The Founding Fields
“The young princes Tyrion and Teclis, descendants of Aenarion the Defender, are called to Ulthuan to determine whether or not their ancestor’s curse will make them a blight, or a gift to the Elves. But with an ancient evil hunting them and all who bear the blood of history, a curse might be the least of their worries.”
Its been a long time since we saw William King on a Black Library book, at least a new one. Both of his series were continued on by others, one who has done a great job, and one who did a bad job. But now he is back and with a new series, featuring the greatest elves of Ulthuan, Prince Tyrion and Prince Teclis, before they became the heroes they are.
Princes Tyrion and Teclis have always known they are the blood of Aenarion, two of a small group that claims descent from the legendary warrior of Asuryan, as is their father Prince Arathion the armoursmith. But now at sixteen years of age it is time for them to be judged before the Fires of Asuryan to see whether they shall be a boon or a curse. A great destiny awaits each of these brothers, one that will see them face down ancient horrors, twisted abominations and even their own blood. Meanwhile an ancient evil has risen once again, and its sights are set on young Tyrion and Teclis’s souls.
Depicting heroes before they were heroes isn’t easy. Many questions arise from it, what were they like? What drove them to become heroes? Were they already heroic in nature? These questions are answered in the novel as we see Tyrion and Teclis as adolescents, Tyrion is a garrulous and earnest youth who quickly finds his vocation as a warrior, while Teclis is his opposite as a caustic and knowledgeable, yet very ill boy. The twins work very well together, and yet can sometimes show a bit of the other with Tyrion having some wisdom of his own, and Teclis being the inquisitive one.
Other characters are written quite well such as Korhien Ironglaive the boisterous White Lion who serves as Tyrion’s mentor, and we get a glimpse of a veteran Elf warrior. The lady Malene, the twin’s aunt and a wise mage who serves as Teclis’s mentor. And the Prince Iltharis who teaches the twins quite a bit about Elven society, and has some secrets of his own. And we even get a glimpse of Aenarion before his death, seeing how he viewed the world and interestingly his relationship with Morathi.
The action scenes in the novel are well written but not very numerous. Most of the action features Chaos and its depiction of mutants, depraved cultists and daemons running amok is very well done, as is the depiction of Chaos itself. As to the action though don’t expect a great deal of it until the end, and even then the novel primarily focuses on Tyrion and Teclis. But in the finale we see just why these twins are destined to be powerful heroes.
The pacing of the novel is good but it could be off-putting for some. This novel feels more like the first part of a book that is so large it has been cut into three thirds. Not like the Ultramarines or Night Lords series when each book can stand on its own but link together, Blood of Aenarion feels more like part of one book rather than one book in a series.
The ending is good but feels a bit abrupt, like the novel entered a double-speed in its last few chapters. I also felt that the Elves in the battle, particularly a certain group of elves, died far too easily. It was a bit more like humans fighting than mighty elven warriors. But it sets the stage well for the next novel, and we can only wonder, where are the twins going to go from here?
I give Blood of Aenarion a 7.8/10 for a good story with some flaws, great characterisation, some good battle scenes and an interesting look at elven society, politics and the mystery behind its rulers.
That’s it for now. Until next time when i’ll likely be doing a dual-review of Faith and Fire and Hammer and Anvil by James Swallow. So until then.
AVE DOMINUS NOX!