Published: March 8, 2016
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 448 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 5.0/5.0
Ten years have passed since the events of the Demon Child books that left the god Xaphista dead, the nation Karien without a religion or king and the matriarchal country of Medalon ruled by men. But it is in the kingdoms of the south that things really heat up. When Princess Rakaia of Fardohnya discovers she is not of royal birth, she agrees to marry a much older Hythrun noble in a chance to escape her ‘father’s wrath. Rakaia takes nothing but her jewels and her base-born half-sister, Charisee, who has been her slave, handmaiden and best friend since she was six years old. And who can pass as Rakaia’s double.
These two sisters embark on a Shakespearian tale of switched identities, complicated love triangles…and meddlesome gods. Rakaia is rescued on the road by none other than the Demon Child, R’shiel, still searching for a way to force Death to release her near immortal Brak. Charisee tries to act like the princess she was never meant to be and manages to draw the attention of the God of Liars who applauds her deception and only wants to help.
Then there is the little matter of the God of Music’s magical totem that has been stolen…and how this theft may undo the universe.
Powerful magics, byzantine politics, sweeping adventure, and a couple of juicy love stories thrown in for good measure, The Lyre Thief is classic Fallon that is sure to appeal to her fans.
I received The Lyre Thief from Tor for review- it was a great surprise to find it randomly in my mailbox one day. Prior to this I hadn’t heard of Jennifer Fallon or her previous books, though I’m extremely glad I had the chance to read this book. I have plans to go back and read her other works, which are set in the same world and feature many of the characters that make appearances in The Lyre Thief. This book was a stunning work of fantasy, with a rich plot, captivating characters, and a deep and complex culture.
The Lyre Thief features an absolute classic case of switched identities- the Fardohnyan princess Rakaia trades places with her slave Charisee to escape an undesirable marriage arrangement and the consequences of her birth. I LOVED Charisee as she slowly began to adjust to her role as royalty and she batted her eyelashes at the mysterious Kiam Miar, assassin and half-brother to the Hythrun High Prince. I liked Rakaia somewhat less at the beginning, but she got considerably better as the book progressed. I’m particularly looking forward to the next book to see how Rakaia handles her new situation. Adrina and Damin (while present) were extremely likable characters as well…. This book was absolutely full of powerful, determined, awesome female characters. Now that I reflect upon it, there were more female characters running the show and determining plot than in pretty much any fantasy novel I’ve read. LOVED IT!
While the plot mostly focused on Rakaia and Charisee’s storylines, there were several other plot threads worked in which will most likely continue to develop in forthcoming novels. The theft of Gimlorie’s lyre, R’Shiel’s quest to the underworld, and some later developments are going to play pretty big roles later, if I may be so bold as to say so. Some of the story arcs are actually continuations from previous books written by Fallon. Such complexity speaks of great talent. This was an addictive story and I read at every opportunity I had, from breaks and lunch to right before bed.
I 100% recommend The Lyre Thief– it’s fantastic and deserves recognition, in my opinion. I was heavily vested in the characters and was totally in love with Kiam and Charisee’s obvious interest in one another. It’s so rare that I find a really lovable romance in a non-YA fantasy novel and the feels were definitely present. Besides, Kiam is an assassin and that in itself is a totally romanticized profession in fantasy novels, but he wasn’t jaded about life which was so refreshing! I want happy endings!! I’ve added Fallon’s Wolfblade trilogy to my list of books to read because the little snippets I got of the Wolfblade family captured my attention and got me curious. Very curious. It’s not too often that I get this excited about a new (to me) author and my emotions are in TURMOIL! I’m so ridiculously excited, and I’ve basically been foisting my thoughts and recommendations on anyone who will listen! Check it out people!