The Heir of Night by Helen Lowe
Orbit Books, 2010. ISBN 9780356500089.
(Ages: 14+) Thirteen-year old Malian, the Heir of Night, is launched unexpectedly and suddenly into a world of conflict, magic and divided alliances. While the once powerful fires of the Derai burn low, the glacial chill of realms lived in form and fantasy arise like frosty tendrils from the pages; storms whip the embattlements of the Keep of Winds, and Malian, the young heir apparent, plays among the corridors and stairwells of the forbidden Old Keep. With the Swarm's dark power stirring, Malian begins to understand her own destiny will be lived between dimensions. Kalan, the young novice priest, and Yorindesarinen, the hero of the Derai, appear to Malian in the forbidden section and for now, they resist the Dark Swarm. Ultimately though, the black shadow must be conquered, prompting the young heiress and her noviciate friend to flee the only home Malian has known. Through sighing winds and snow, and with the sinister shadow close upon them, will their combined wit, courage and psychic powers be enough to overcome the enemy?
Helen Lowe, an award winning author and poet, is based in New Zealand. The Heir of Night is the first of her four-book fantasy, chronicling the wars of the Derai and their traditional enemy The Dark Swarm. Young readers especially will identify with its main characters, Malian and Kalan. Written in the third person, it weaves effortlessly between dialogue and imagery, and although the battle scenes are graphic, they are in keeping with other novels of this genre. The complex cast and plot are introduced slowly and carefully. Lowe's effort will be worthwhile as the ensuing books reveal the remainder of the saga.
The Heir of Night will surely leave fans of the genre eager for its sequel. This book would be suitable for high school library bookshelves.