Book: Heir of Illaria (Illaria 1) by Dyan Chick
Release Date: January 23rd 2017
Tags: Young Adult / Fantasy / High Fantasy / Necromancers / Magic
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
As long as I can remember, I’ve been taught to fear the Necromancer King. He controls the kingdom of Illaria with dark sorcery and the constant threat of his undead army. I never thought I’d have reason to cross his path. Everything changed the day his guards tried to kill me. That’s when I found out my whole life has been a lie. By joining a resistance group called the White Ravens, I’ve claimed new roles. Princess of Illaria, sorceress in training, and threat to the Necromancer King.
Heir of Illaria is a book I came across on Netgally that stood out to me because of the cover, hello gorgeous, and the mention of a necromancer king in the synopsis. If you don’t know this about me. Necromancing is a thing I find highly interesting but don’t come across too often. So that was an instant need to read for me. Unfortunately the book didn’t quite live up to the expected darkness.
To be honest, the book has a bit of a cliché young adult fantasy going on where the not so special girl finds out she is a princess, heir to the throne and has a special power. Which can be fun when it is filled in well and can manage to twist away from it at some point. Unfortunately it doesn’t quite manage to do that until the very end.
The start to the book, when we get to meet Wilona, feels rushed. We move through things incredibly fast and there is little explanation. Our main character doesn’t put her foot down about any of it and just lets herself get pushed around and accepts it all without any explanation to be honest. It made her feel flat as a character.
In the second half of the book she had a bit more personality about her. I liked how she made it clear she didn’t want to be queen and wanted to get away from that. She slowly grows into the role that a princess needs though and tries to put her foot down to her brother every now and then. She also doesn’t want to be married of. And is vocal about that in her own mind which is great. But doesn’t actually manage to get it out to the person that matters. It then gets so easily resolved for her so she didn’t have to deal with it. Bit of a shame really.
I found the magic system rather on the messy side. They are aligned with the elements. Fire and water are rare but why? And where do their powers come from? Is there a story or a legend surrounding them? They also have to make hand movements but then it is said they don’t have to be exact. And some can do it without movements. What are the rules exactly?
The romance moved too quickly unfortunately. I think there was potential there for a good romance but it just moved forward too fast. Where was the real connection being made?
The idea of the king necromancer which I would love to know more of and the ending were interesting. But there wasn’t enough emotional impact for me to truly care about it. There wasn’t enough bond between some of these characters to create the impact the author wanted.
Overall the book was an okay read but couldn’t pull itself away from the typical young adult fantasy. It also needs more world building, especially when it comes to the magical system.