Heir of Lies by Mallory McCartney is very much an epic fantasy in the classical mould, 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, those 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 would 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 realise is that the Academy was built on lies and half-truths. Much more was going on than either of the four was aware of and 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.
This book, 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 my magic and darkness, this is an absolute must read for you. The author, 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 as each undergoes a transformation as they come to maturity and discover their true purposes in life, always with that overarching desire and lust for the beautiful princess Emory. By telling the story through these four different character’s 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, were 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 lover 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.