Heir of Lies

Black Dawn Series - Book 1

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
456 Pages
Reviewed on 11/17/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Heir of Lies: Black Dawn Series Book 1 by Mallory McCartney is the story of Emory Fae and Adair Stratton as they navigate their lives and figure out a truth that may change everything they have ever known. Emory hasn’t really had much contact with the outside world. With a legacy to uphold, all her time is spent inside the Academy where she and fellow students with special abilities reside. Her days are spent honing her skills and spending some quality time with her friends Brokk, Memphis and best friend Adair. Everything was going well until it wasn’t. With the arrival of a rogue king from across the sea, the balance on which the lives of these young people were barely hanging is tipped over. Things are changing so fast that they have a hard time catching up to what is happening. With the burden of the world on their shoulders, these friends have to find a way to navigate the circumstances and make the best out of what they have. The future of everyone is at stake and it seems like Emory and Adair have to make some serious decisions.

This is a fast-paced story with an incredibly well-woven universe that makes you feel like you are transported there. There was never a dull moment in the story; this is an adrenaline rush-inducing story that had my heart racing almost all the time. Emory and Adair have a very beautiful and poignant friendship. I enjoyed the development of the story, the development of the characters and how the circumstances affected their lives. Emory is such a cool character to read, she adapts herself to the situations and makes sure that her attention is completely on the task at hand. Adair is my favorite; he has a struggle within and a struggle with the people who are passing judgment on him left, right and center. This is such a strong beginning to a series that is bound to become an obsession.

Grant Leishman

Heir of Lies by Mallory McCartney is very much an epic fantasy in the classical mold, with strange, weird and wonderful creatures along with magic, time travel and a change in dimensions. The Academy was the dream of a king and queen who were forced to marry in an alliance but grew to love and respect each other deeply. The Academy is where young men and women with special abilities, powers and magical skills, who were feared and mistrusted, even shunned by the general population, were able to grow, mature and nurture those skills for the good of the land as a whole. Four young, powerful and influential characters form the basis of what would happen in the future. Emory, daughter of the rulers and heir apparent to the crown, was surrounded by her three best friends: Brokk, a shapeshifter; Adair, the son of the king and queen’s two best friends and seconds in command; and Memphis. All three boys adored and loved Emory but each, it seemed, was unable to quite break out of the “best friend” zone with the young princess. What none of them realize is that the Academy is built on lies and half-truths. Much more was going on than either of the four was aware of. The future held horror, terror, and pain for all four as they sought to protect the dream of the Academy in a world gone mad with lust and the quest for power.

Heir of Lies really does fulfill all the requirements of an epic fantasy and if you love the exploration of weird and wild worlds ruled by magic and darkness, this is an absolute must-read for you. Mallory McCartney has created story arcs that are complicated and varied, ensuring a reader never loses excitement in the tale. However, that is not done at the expense of great characterization. The four main characters are all beautifully drawn and exquisitely developed. Each undergoes a transformation as they come to maturity and discover their true purposes in life, always with that overarching desire for the beautiful Princess Emory. By telling the story through these four different characters' perspectives, each chapter reveals something new and different about the true essence of the particular character. The morality of the story is highlighted as a simple choice between good and evil, as well as the dangers that lusting for power can have over people that you thought were good, decent and true friends. I particularly enjoyed the convoluted and conflicting feelings Emory had for Adair, Brokk, and Memphis – this gave the narrative a real romantic edge. The battle scenes and individual fights are many and varied, always guaranteed to keep an action fan on the edge of his/her seat. This is an exceptionally well-written book and one I can highly recommend in this genre, or indeed the Young Adult genre.

Ruffina Oserio

Heir of Lies is the first book in the Black Dawn Series by Mallory McCartney, an epic fantasy with sophisticated characters. It is a story for readers who enjoy strong characters, a magical world, and adventure. Emory Fae lives for the Academy, the school for those who have special gifts. Her parents have great hopes for her. Her friend, Adair Stratton, is different from the others, one of those who want to live life on their own terms. His heart is not in the Academy and his mistrust of the institution grows stronger with rumors of dark magic existing in Kiero. When a bloodthirsty pirate king sails to Kiero across the Black Sea, Emory and Adair know that nothing will ever be the same, as the roguish king makes demands for a new treaty. Now begins the quest for the truth as Adair embraces his true nature and makes decisions that will change the course of many lives in Kiero. Emory becomes the heir of the Academy, and it is at the direst of times.

One of the things I love in novels is the growth of the characters. I want to see what motivates and drives them. For the young characters in Heir of Lies, it is the desire for truth and the quest for real freedom. Emory wants the truth about the Academy while the outcast, Adair, wants to act freely and live the way he wants. The setting is a world ruled by magic, but one that faces a threat. The tension builds up quickly as characters learn that nothing is what it seems. Mallory McCartney writes in beautiful prose and conjures up vivid images in the minds of readers. This is an enthralling story with great potential to entertain readers, the writing is cinematic, and the characters leap off the pages with so much life and magic. It is a delightful read and I can't wait for the next book in the series.