Review Blog

May 19 2013

The Tae'anaryn by Joe Ireland

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Wombat Books, 2013. ISBN 9781921632327.
Recommended: Middle / Upper Primary. The Tae'anaryn is a fantasy novel with a very strong philosophical bias. The questions it asks the reader to ponder are universal: What is the purpose of my life? How do I respond to and treat others? The characters in the story offer examples which can be reflected on as an individual or discussed in a more formal setting.
Kialeesa is a Tae'aranyn, child who is half human half demon. Her parents own a tavern in the countryside of the kingdom of Lenmer'el where Kialeesa is forced by her demanding mother to workday and night in the kitchens, along with her almost adopted brother Kiel. Her father spends most of his time drunk but loves and protects his daughter as best as he can.
When Kialeesa is summoned to attend the Kings College she sees it as an opportunity to change her life, and to learn to read. She meets the kindly King, despite court protocol, who reminds her that her lowly upbringing is no barrier to success and reaffirms his belief that she is destined to do great things for great good.
Despite the different races and status of students attending the college, Kialeesa finds it extremely difficult to make friends and is feared by many of the adults due to her appearance and the reputation of the Tae'anaryn. Through her deeds and actions she becomes friends with a-would-be wizard, a prayerful warrior, a dryad enchantress and an untrained half troll, who become a formidable team in school challenges.
Kialeesa has to draw on all her knowledge and strength to face the King's assassin though the threat of war continues to hangs over the kingdom and many questions are left to be answered in the books to follow.
The quotations at the beginning of each chapter reflect the content and major discussion point which is reinforced in the Points to Ponder section in the Appendix making this an ideal novel for study at an upper primary level.
Sue Keane

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