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Heirs of War by Mara Valderran
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Heirs of War

by Mara Valderran

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I was given a copy of “Heirs of War” by author Mara Valderran to read in exchange for an honest review. I met Ms. Valderran in a forum on www.goodreads.com where she was discussing her book. After reading a brief description and a few conversations, I was more than willing to take on her book.

*****

“Heirs of War” centers around five teenage girls. The book begins with the introduction of Zelene. Forced to live with a pair of alcoholic and abusive foster-parents, she develops this protective shell to just help keep sane. Her only real friend in life is Varrick, who has acted as a protector and confidant. It’s through Varrick that she discovers that what she thought was her normal unhappy life, was actually a ruse. She is part of a prophetic tale and she has been sent off to another realm to protect her and her sisters from being murdered. It’s not until their birthday that they are to come into their own magical powers.

Ariana enters the story in chapter two. Ariana is your typical teenage girl. She’s boy crazy, obsessed with the upcoming school dance and her believes her parents are the strictest parents in the world. But it’s her attitude of wanting things her way and right now that get her into trouble. It’s her parent’s friend Varrick that always seems to be the savior and help her experience fun in life. It becomes an unfortunate experience though when Ariana discovers that she too is part of a magical prophecy and that she has sister and a twin, Zelene. However, she ends up abducted by what she thought was a new girl in school that she befriends, Sheridan. Being swept off to the dungeons of Sheridan’s mother, Ariana discovers who she truly is and how she is part of a powerful magical family.

Rhaya is the third sister who is introduced in chapter three. She’s always known that she had some kind of gift to where she could tell if someone was lying. It’s through these intuitions that she has learns that the man and woman who loved and raised her weren’t actually her parents. Raemann, her “father” has always treated her with unconditional love. He’s protected her and encouraged her curiosity. It’s through her special abilities to sense things; she discovers that people are stalking her. It’s her father Raemann, that she discovers that she has magical powers and is from a magical realm and most importantly, she has sisters!

The fourth sister, Isauria makes her appearance in chapter three. She becomes friends with Rhaya while at college. It’s through Rhaya that Isauria starts to open up about things that have been haunting her. Having turned all her dreams into a story, she gives her manuscript to Rhaya. Isauria has been haunting by these dreams that seem so real. The people in her dreams feel like she knows them. She dreams of the death of her mother and can sense what is going on with other people who feel as if they are her family. Afraid to tell anyone other than Rhaya about this, she feels that she is going crazy. It’s not until they are attacked and saved by Raemann that she learns that everything that had been happening to her in her dreams is actually a reality.

Terrena is introduced through the story of Isauria. She has been dreaming of Terrena and details her life in the story she’s writing. Terrena’s story plays out in chapter four. Terrena spends her days sparring with Kenward her Cyneward (protector) and surrogate father. She’s the only one of the five sisters who knows who she actually is, Ainnir Terrena.

*****

“Heirs of War” is a classified as a YA book. Typically, I wouldn’t read this genre. I get so irritated with the characters and how immature they act. However, “Heirs of War” isn’t your typical YA story. The sisters in this book all are strong young women who are trying to figure out who they are in life. The life that they knew has been turned inside out. The parent’s, who raised them, aren’t their parents. The world they lived in, isn’t the actual realm that there from. They learn that they are part of a magical family that has some resemblance to the Celtic world.

It’s great when you find a story that the main characters are females and they all are strong individuals. Granted they all have their moments of weakness and teenage angst. I was so wrapped up in the emotional and psychological aspects of these young women’s lives. Not knowing who they could trust. Not understanding everything that they have been through and why. It’s up to the girls to create that sisterly bond that will help them find and become the powerful women they are destined to be.

I normally wouldn’t want to read a second book of a YA story, but with this one, I’m honestly curious to see how things evolve. I have faith that the sisters will learn more of their past, present and future. I’m anxious to see how they start to harness the powers that have been suppressed after all these years. Plus, I’m curious to see how they handle adjusting to the fact that they are now not alone in this world…they have sisters.

If you ever were a fan of Charmed, then you will love this story despite it being in the YA genre. ( )
  cbilbo | Apr 1, 2014 |
Book Info: Genre: Urban/Epic Fantasy
Reading Level: Upper Young Adult/New Adult
Recommended for: Fans of fantasy
Book Available: October 13, 2013
Trigger Warnings: child abuse, murder, torture

My Thoughts: I think my favorite thing about this book is the way Celtic mythology is woven into it. It's not overt, but subtle things, and also the naming conventions. Which means pronunciation will drive you crazy, since Gaelic is the closest thing to Celtic and the way things are spelled vs. how they are pronounced is nowhere near the same.

There are a lot of characters to keep track of, and so the book goes back and forth between the point of view of the five girls: Zelene, Ariana, Isauria, Rhaya, and Terrena. It goes by chapter, though, so there is no head-hopping. I had an ARC and have heard that there have been some changes made for the final copy, but the essential storyline remains the same.

The abuse that Zelene and Sheridan both experience is heartbreaking. It's unfortunately also all-too-common, especially in the foster-care system like Zelene experienced. I suspect we're in for a big reveal about Sheridan at some point in one of the next books.

This is the first book in a proposed series. It ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, so I'm hoping that the author will hurry up and right the next book so I can learn what happens next. The book is a real page-turner and I found myself completely engrossed in the story. If you like fantasy, and have been looking for something that sort of mixes urban fantasy with epic fantasy with tough heroines, than definitely check this story out. It's really enjoyable.

Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Zelene doesn't believe in magic or prophecies. When she's told she is part of the prophecy foretelling five powerful girls bringing peace to the war-torn worlds, she scoffs. The idea of other dimensions layered on top of the world she lives in is almost as ludicrous as the idea that she might be able to save them. After she is attacked by magic-wielding assassins, she finds she can't argue with reality.

As their enemies strike, the girls are taken back to their world and discover the ties binding them together. Rhaya has always had an uncanny knack for reading people, but can’t seem to unravel the mystery tying her to Isauria, the new friend she bonded with instantly. For years, Isauria has been dreaming of Terrena, a girl living her life on the run in a magical world ripped apart by the tragedies of war, completely unaware that she is psychically linked to the world she was born in.

Zelene views them all with a distrustful eye, familial bonds or no, and can think of a place or two she’d like to shove the crown she supposedly inherited. When she learns that her long-lost twin Ariana has been captured by the rebels, Zelene’s attitude changes. She doesn’t know how she is supposed to go against an army of magic-wielding rebels when her own ability to manipulate the elements is still locked within her. But can she trust the elders to rescue Ariana when it seems their medieval politics are what brought about the war in the first place? With all that is at stake, the answer becomes clear to Zelene.

Screw the worlds. She’s getting her sister back. ( )
  Katyas | Oct 13, 2013 |
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