The Heron Prince – Kim Alexander

“Well, we have to go get him back, don’t we?”

Yes. Yes, you definitely have to go get Rhuun back. That goes for you, too, Kim Alexander – please do keep getting Rhuun back. Because whatever can be said about the editing (for this book was as bad in terms of textual errors as the first one), it still doesn’t matter: the world-building, the story, the characters shine through with a brilliance that just makes everything near it on the shelf look bad. The Heron Prince and its predecessor are exactly the type of book which you need to devour because you need to know what happens and because you’re having such a great time – but which you try to stretch out because the faster you read it the sooner you’ll be done and be faced with the enormous challenge of finding something that can follow it.

The setting and worldbuilding are kind of magnificent. You’ve got Mistra, which is kind of like here and now, only not really – maybe more like Jane Austen’s England, but not really. It’s Earth-like. There are horses (or are those dogs?) and chocolate, and a place where people learn the lore of demons.

And you’ve got Eriis. That’s where the demons come from. Eriis is sand and heat and a red-eyed people with wings, and it’s utterly alien. It takes some getting used to. Get used to it – it’s more than worth it. Eriis just awes me, because of its utter alienness – in which setting the people, the “demons”, are both also utterly alien and utterly approachable. They have loves and hates and loyalties that make them comprehensible, even while everything around them is strange and wonderful.

If you had told me at the beginning of The Sand Prince that I would be as fiercely loyal to Lelet as I am to Rhuun, I wouldn’t have believed you. If you had told me that I’d come to love Lelet’s sister and Rhuun’s mother, I would have quietly assumed you were insane. If you had told me at the end of The Sand Prince that I would love Rhuun even more by the end of The Heron Prince, I would have boggled at the impossibility of that much affection for a fictional character who is not Anne Shirley or Samwise Gamgee. And yet.

And Rhuun’s transformation(s) – ? Broke my heart in such a good way.

I can’t wait for the third book.

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