WATCH OUT FOR SPOILERS, SWEETIE!
It’s the first peace in a thousand years. The New Kingdom and Telesia have agreed to set aside their centuries old quarrel over land and culture for this alliance of peace. This fragile alliance brokered by the newcomer to the throne is about to be put to the test. Alex, the new king, meets and falls in love with Lydia, a fisherman’s daughter from the east. His family and friends are outraged. Plans have already been put into place and Lydia’s appearance jeopardizes the alliance.
In the author’s own words, “The story is about love, betrayal, death, loyalty, madness. It’s about a fisherman’s daughter who falls in love with a king, and how they suffer the worst kind of betrayal from one they trusted.” I chose to use the author’s own words because I feel they best describe the story, but also because they are what keeps the story moving. There is no stall out with this story. It is suspenseful. It is the type of book that grabs you and won’t let you put it down until you’re done, even if it means burning some midnight oil.
At first glance, I thought this book was just another romantic novel. I was tempted to lay it down, but was glad I didn’t. It has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, and even when there is a little bit of predictability, it has enough momentum to carry you over those areas, because even when you think you know what will happen, how and when they happen are a mystery. The author does a good job of holding your attention.
The only thing I didn’t particularly care for was the ending. It definitely leaves it wide open for a second book, but I felt like I will be forever hanging on the edge of this cliff until the next book arrives. By then, my arm will be ready to fall off. All in all, I would recommend this book. — Gracie Lightfoot Y-30 Staff
by Yellow30 Sci-Fi
By Dakota Wind – Rolling Seas Reviews
Valery considered for a moment. ‘I suppose we can’t leave her to die, but
it’ll fall on your head if she brings us nothing but trouble.’
Hierath is the first book in a trilogy of fantasy stories by author Joanne Hall that is filled with twists and turns.
Alex the Prince of Hierath drags Lydia from the water after she is struck on the head by a fleeing deer and faces the ice bridge to Avenhelm before Alex and Valery drag her from the river and revive her.
Lydia is too pale to be an enemy Northern Telesian and Alexander III, Ruler of the New Kingdom, decides she is to be taken back to the healer at Hierath Castle to recover.
Lady Ammaline rules the Council of the Kingdom and the Prince and takes an intense dislike to Lydia. Treachery is ripe in the Kingdom of Hierath, and trouble is indeed waiting for both Alex and Lydia on his return.
Hierath is an intriguing novel for both young adults and avid readers, with interesting
characters to carry the ending of the story into the second book in the trilogy by Joanne Hall. An enjoyable fantasy.
July 2007 ©
Rolling Seas Reviews
REVIEW BY COLIN HARVEY AT SUITE 101.COM
Hierath by Joanne Hall (238pp, ISBN0978977222421) is the first volume of an epic new fantasy trilogy that looks set to extend beyond the original three books in the same way as other series such as Terry Pratchett’s Discworld and Raymond E Feist’s Riftwar series have, and which will appeal to all connoisseurs of magic and sword and sorcery.
On a world very much like ours, the most obvious difference is that there are two moons and magic works, two young young hunters find a young woman lying unconscious by a pool. They rescue her from an attack by creatures lurking in the pool, and take her back to the castle of Hierath.
As she is convalescing, the young woman, Lydia grows attracted to one of the men Alex, before learning that he is the ruler of the little Kingdom. By contrast, Lydia is a commoner whose parents died in a recent famine, and is travelling through the kingdom to stay with relatives.
Alex is an uncommonly egalitarian ruler, in stark contrast to his aunt, who has plans for her nephew that she hasn’t bothered to consult him about. Aunt Ammaline is furious that those plans are disrupted by a mere commoner, and with the aid of her accomplices sets out to rid herself of this troublesome newcomer. The King is entirely unprepared for treachery from those close to him, and his furious response escalates the conflict, until Hierath stands on the very brink of war.
It’s a richly drawn and complex world, full of well-drawn characters; the heroes are heroic, while the villains are suitably malevolent, and there is a fine show-down with the forces of darkness.
The Electronically Published Internet Connection (EPIC) is a writer’s organization that is geared solely to electronically published writers. Those writers published in old-fashioned print books are not specifically excluded, but the criteria is that they must be published in e-book format.
Many long-time genre writers are dismissive of such organizations, but the reality is that electronic publishing is not going to go away, and that the only way to raise standards is to participate rather than to ignore the field. The EPPIE Awards, which are given by EPIC each year, is one such mechanism, and Hierath –having come from nowhere– was selected as a finalist for the best fantasy novel, a massive honour for a first novel by an unknown Briton.
It’s a well-deserved honour.
This review can be found at : http://scififantasyfiction.suite101.com/article.cfm/hierath_by_jo_hall
Book Review – Hierath by Joanne Hall
By Claire Carter
I used to think the worst villains were the ones who had no reason for their actions, Joanne Hall has proven me wrong. In her novel Heirath she has created the worst villains I can imagine because their reasonsfor their evil are the good of the kingdom and you begin to understand why they have done the terrible things they have, even though you can never forigve them. There had to be a better way!
The main characters, although act a little young for their age and station, are well rounded and loveable. You find yourself wishing with all your heart that they have a good ending and that love will conquer all, but Joanne has already put them through so much pain and struggle and the situation is impossible, if they marry then war will be brought down on an already tird and money strapped kingdom which just wont survive.
This book is filled with intrigue, love, hate, death and betrayal. It is unputdownable and heartbreaking. Joanne Hall is a truly fantastic writer.
By Gracie Lightfoot – Yellow30 SciFi
ISBN-13: 9781934258002 (Trade Paperback)
Pub. Date: March 2007
In Exile picks up with Queen Lydia working under a pseudonym as a tavern maid in a place called Mouse On The Table. Shen, as she is now called, can hold her own against the scraggly likes of the tavern patrons, but what weighs most heavily on her mind is the husband she lost and the son she has not seen since that dark night she headed into an unknown future.
Shen’s cousin, Meganne and her husband, Jorge, and a fellow worker named Callum, who are intimately familiar with the goings on in her life, help her make it through the rough times. Their love and friendship, though, are never quite enough to ease her grief or calm her nightmares.
King Valery, who has now taken the throne at Hierath Castle by treacherous means from King Alex, is continuing his search for Rhodri, Alex’s son and rightful heir to the throne. Valery knows he must eliminate this threat if he is ever to have absolute control in his kingdom. Valery is not above selling his soul to get what he wants.
In Exile, the 2nd book in the “New Kingdom Trilogy,” is excellent. The story is fluid and moves quickly, but at the same time Ms. Hall does a nice job of allowing you insight into the characters. The character development and the story line are consistent throughout so you don’t have to backtrack to figure out what is going on from the first book to this one. Ms. Hall’s progression as a writer is ever apparent in this book.
I, for one, am looking forward to reading the last book in the Trilogy to see exactly what happens. –Gracie Lightfoot, Y-30 Staff
Copyright©1999-2007 by Yellow30 Sci-Fi
& The KitchenSink Entertainment Group
All Rights Reserved
In Exile was a 2008 Pluto Award Finallist.
In Exile by Joanne Hall
Volume 2 of the Hierath Saga
© Colin Harvey
Jul 13, 2008
Owing more to Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar than to Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings, the sequel to the EPPIE-Award nominated Hierath is more assured than its predecessor.
Joanne Hall made a dazzling debut in 2006 with the story of two young men and the woman they rescue from drowning with the epic sword & sorcery fantasy Hierath.
One of the young men –King Alex– fell in love with and subsequently married Lydia, the girl, only to be betrayed and his regime overthrown by his childhood friend Valery.
Now in exile, a young barmaid encounters the men of the Wolfpack, Valery’s feared
death-squad. Shen the barmaid is then grabbed on her way through an alleyway, but her ‘assailant’ is Bale, King Alex’s trusted lieutenant.
Back at her rooms it emerges that Shen is Lydia, hiding from the Wolfpack; Bale tells her that Alex is alive, and she agrees to ride north with them to rendezvous with her husband. Her cousin Meganne and Meganne’s husband Jorge insist on accompanying her to the meeting.
This had one unfortunate consequence; one or two riders on their own are far less than a group of four particularly when two of the group are strikingly beautiful women
– and Meganne has ‘the glamour’ the ability to bewitch men, which she seems to be hardly aware of, but which makes her hard to forget by those she’s used it on.
When they meet with Alex, the group grows to five, and their progress becomes even harder to disguise. They narrowly evade capture by the Wolfpack, and seeking sanctuary in the island castle of Northpoint they gain another by ‘rescuing’ Valery’s new wife, although she has at first little desire to be rescued.
INFLUENCES — LORD OF THE RINGS vs LANKHMAR
There is still much to be admired in Hall’s new novel, such as the detail that she brings to her imagined world, and the likeability of her characters, and she has gained in the assurance of her writing since publishing Hierath, so that In Exile is a stronger novel than its predecessor. Like Hierath, In Exile is a much more human work than the template fantasies such as Lord of the Rings and perhaps owes more to classical American series such as Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar.
But there are also a number of caveats.
First is the characters themselves — particularly Alex, the King and his wife Lydia who
behave at times in ways that simply don’t ring true of people in their position (they seem astonishingly content to leave their son in the care of others while riding around Hierath in a large group drawing attention to themselves; yet they are possessed by an enemy ruthless enough to wipe out whole communities).
The novel itself seems content to meander along in search of a plot, and really only begins to gain momentum as it gallops toward its conclusion in the court of Telesia.
In Exile is very much the middle volume of a trilogy and should be read as such — the
prelude to a strong conclusion.
The copyright of the article In Exile by Joanne Hall in Sci-Fi/Fantasy Fiction is owned by Colin Harvey. Permission to republish In Exile by Joanne Hall in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.
Book Review: In Exile by Joanne Hall
By Claire Carter
After reading Heirath, the first book in this trilogy, you gain an expectation of horrible things happening to the main characters. All the way through you are on tenderhooks, waiting, rather impatiently, for it all to go wrong. And then it does and you realise how good a writer Joanne Hall is.
Lydia and Alex have found each other again and are on a journey to be reunited with their son, but Valery has other plans, and what he did gave me night terrors. In this book there is adventure and intrigue and at least three love triangles, but there is never a dull moment.
Here we also get to meet some of the Old Ones and we discover more about the history of the world. We are taken on a long journey through much of the New Kingdom and for once our hero has chosen to put his family before his people, which makes a refreshing change, it is only because of Valery’s actions that have put Alex in an impossible position that he is now being forced to act.
Unputdownable, horrific, and brilliant!
EAGLE OF THE KINGDOM
Book Three New Kingdom Trilogy
by Joanne Hall
Copyright©1999-2008 by Yellow30 Sci-Fi & The KitchenSink Entertainment Group
All Rights Reserved
Eagle of the Kingdom is the third and final book of the New Kingdom Trilogy series by Joanne Hall. The story opens with Alex awaiting trial, held captive in the desert prison of Telesia, which lies across miles and miles of barren desert. Escape appears hopeless.
Alex is awaiting trial for publicly humiliating, Penram, the royal princess. Alex invoked the wrath of her father, King of Telesia, after he sent her home. Humiliation was not what Alex had intended for the princess; nevertheless, that’s how it was viewed by the Telesian ruler. But Alex could not help himself; he could love no one but Lydia. But now he was about to pay the price for that love.
Through a series of events at the prison, Lydia came up with a successful plan to free her husband. It was costly, but in the end it meant their freedom. After their release, they begin to make their way back to their own kingdom, to gather friends and allies along the way. Alex and Lydia are determined to take back the throne and their kingdom and their son from the heinous ruler who is now in command.
Once Valery knew for sure that Alex and Lydia were still alive, he becomes all the more obsessed with killing them. Treachery and betrayal abound on both sides.
Eagle of the Kingdom is a great finish to the New Kingdom Trilogy. The characters are memorable and consistent from book to book, so it is easy to dive in and pick up where the last book left off. I stayed up late more than one night to read on. Ms. Hall is a great story teller, and I can only hope she has another book on the horizon. Even though we only have a 5 star rating, I would it rate it higher than that.—Grace Lightfoot, Y-30 Staff
Book Review – Eagle of the Kingdom by Joanne Hall
By Claire Carter
This is the third and final book of a trilogy that has taken over my daydreams, mynightmares, and a lot of my waking thoughts. How will it all end? Will everyone be reunited? Will the bad guys get what they deserved and the good guys win out overall?
I feel like writing this review will give it all away, but it is inevitable. Joanne Hall is such a writer that even though you know in your heart of hearts how it has to end, she can still shock and surprise. A war raged and there were many deaths and you felt for the fallen, your heart is heavy when the Hawkman holds his little charge in his hands and you shed a tear for the loss of a good friend.
However, in true fashion for this writer, there are MANY unanswered questions. Although you know this is the end of the trilogy you are left wanting much more. What of the witch who plotted to kill a young boy? What of the baby prince? What of our Telesian friends? What happens next?
Here we have a writer who does not do conclusions, but instead keeps us hounding at her door begging for more.