Happy Wednesday! (I know, that’s such a corporate America/mom thing to say, but I’m both so it is what it is!)
I started the first book in a new series this week, and LET ME TELL YOU, this is shaping up to be an early contender for favorite series read during 2023! What is this mysterious series you may ask? Odriel’s Heirs by the talented Hayley Reese Chow!
Big thank you to Hayley Reese Chow for reaching out to me and providing me with ALL 3 FULL LENGTH AND 2 NOVELLA LENGTH books in the series, including an ARC of the third book “Time’s Orphan” which will be released this February! My goal is to review one book per week until the third book’s release date of February 8, giving you all my thoughts and feelings along the way!
Can’t wait to share this with you all. Let’s get to it!
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication Date: March 1, 2020
The brave, burning with fire, harnessed the Dragon’s Rage….
As the Dragon Heir, seventeen-year-old Kaia inherited the power of flame to protect her homeland from a godlike necromancer’s undead army. But after centuries of peace, the necromancer has faded to myth, and the Dragon Heir is feared by the people. Persecuted and cast out, Kaia struggles to embrace and control her seemingly useless gift while confined to her family’s farm.
But when the necromancer’s undead terrorize the land once again, Kaia runs away to join the battle.
With the help of her childhood rival, the handsome Shadow Heir, and a snarky, cursed cat, Kaia must figure out how to control both her fire and her confidence in time to save Okarria. If she fails, she will sacrifice her family, her new friends, and the enchanting world she has only just begun to see.
And time is running out.
What I liked about the book:
1. It has a map! I love when books include maps, because you know some crazy stuff is going to go down and the worldbuilding is going to be insane!
97% of the time a book has a map, I’m guaranteed to fall in love! This was no exception!
2. I love mythology, real and created for the sake of literature, so the fact that this book was driven entirely by legend was very much my jam!
Original Legend: “three ordinary men stepped forward to confront Nifras, the demon necromancer, and his army of the Lost” (basically an army of the undead lead by a super bad guy). “The high spirit, Odriel, blessed them with great gifts to pass down to their Heirs. To the bravest, he gave the power of the Dragon – or fire. He cloaked the cunning in shadow – to walk unseen. And to the kind, he gave his healing touch.”
Add to this a missing (maybe even dead?) heir, a mini-boss that basically looks like Voldemort, an emotional support dog sidekick, a talking cat, and stories of previous heirs doing pretty crazy stuff to summon Odriel’s assistance, and I was a total happy camper!
Kaia – our FMC with the perfect amount of spark and flaws!
I cannot tell you how much I loved that Kaia was such an outcast in her community! She was literally stoned and yelled at for her abilities, but then still had to save everyone when the time came. Isn’t that the mark of a real hero???
Also, the author did a great job showing that she was no Mary Sue. The background and learning that went into her abilities was described as a lifelong experience instead of something she could just magically do, and she still didn’t come out on top in most instances. I loved the background that she was not the strongest in the events the heirs competed in and that she frequently lost in sparring matches with the Shadow Heir her whole life. This did a lot to humanize her character and made her truly relatable. It also made it that much more believable and exciting when she did something incredible! I absolutely loved her as the FMC!
Klaus – our MMC who you just know has one of those delicious bad boy smirks and eyes only for the FMC. I loved his nature of playfulness mixed with strong-will, and how he had her back at every turn. I also liked the bit of jealousy we got to see come out and play 😉
From what we know, he has the possibility for a really daunting and incredible backstory, and I really hope we get to know more of it in the first novella!
Lastly, he’s a YA hunk for sure. For God’s sake, he calls her Firefly! I mean, OH.MY.GOD. just look at these lines:
I would rather fight beside you in the darkness than live without you in the sun.
– And y’all wonder why we like fictional men…
Kaia: I’m not a master of my emotions, as you are.
Klaus: To be honest, I hope you never learn. When you grieve, the sun does not shine, and when your heart is light, the whole world smiles with you.
Shadmundar – snarky, talking cat…Ummmm yeah, I need more backstory here! I have a feeling Shadmundar is going to be a continuing character throughout the series, so hopefully we get to know more, but I’m already sold!
Gus – probably my favorite character! Gus is Kaia’s emotional support hound who is able to tell when her rage is overtaking her and could lead to fiery situations. I loved the telepathic conversations him and Kaia had, with all his praising and reassurance. Sweetest doggo ever!
Tekoa – Ummmm, why did I feel that Kaia should have ended up with Tekoa at some points??? Was I the only one that thought a love triangle would have worked beautifully here? Such a good guy and such a good boost of confidence for her, just not the guy.
Fiola/Mackie – salt of the earth, downright good people. I loved Mackie’s flora and fauna gifts and abilities, as well as his willingness to do whatever it took. I loved that Fiola was basically the mother figure Kaia needed while at war. She was humorous and humble, which made me love her so much!
Everard – I loved this idea that he was a stubborn magi but a secret romantic. I NEED more of his and a certain lady’s backstory!
4. SO MANY GOOD LINES!
To keep the dead from our doorstep, I must ride out to meet them.
– Well that’s badass.
The first battle is in your head.
Or this one of similar sentiment
To win on the battlefield you must first conquer the fear within.
– My father also told this to me as a child. I felt so connected to Kaia at this point!
We must accept who we are, the good and the bad.
– So true
If ever you need a light, just remember the one that burns within you never goes out.
Wherever there is light, there is also shadow.
Kill the puppeteer, and the marionettes will fall.
5. Ok, adorable alert! Hayley has the first chapter available on her WordPress site (link to site available at the end of blog). BUT she also narrated the first chapter of the book and has that available on her site for those who would prefer to dive in with an auditory experience.
6. Last, but not least, I love that cover! It’s totally gorgeous and screams at me to read it!
What could have been better:
1. I’m greedy and I wanted this to be so much longer! The author definitely has the chops given the action scenes written and the world created, so I desperately needed this to be three times as long!
There wasn’t anything missing plot wise, but I definitely felt that with more details, fluff, and character development it could have had that extra something! I would have killed for more lead up in the romance department, more exploring into the world, creatures, and groups, and more background into the original heirs.
If you are looking for a fun new YA Fantasy series, this is a great choice!
Final Rating: 4.25 stars
Want to check out what else Hayley is working on? Hop on over to her social media accounts using the below.
Goodreads | Instagram | Website
While you’re at it, let’s be antisocial together!
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