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The Dark Griffin by K. J. Taylor
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The Dark Griffin (original 2009; edition 2009)

by K. J. Taylor

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136988,280 (3.55)5
Member:Tsana
Title:The Dark Griffin
Authors:K. J. Taylor
Info:Pymble, N.S.W. : HarperVoyager, 2009.
Collections:Your library, Dead tree books, Sweden.
Rating:*****
Tags:Fantasy, Australian, AWW2013

Work details

The Dark Griffin (The Fallen Moon, Book 1) by K. J. Taylor (2009)

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Not bad. It's never fun when the main character gets his entire life messed up by those scheming around him and all he gets is the bad end of the deal... but it's leading into the next book in the series! I'm interested to see where it goes.

( )
  kevbayer | Jun 20, 2014 |
One thing I find lacking in most other books of the same genre are richly written details of the world in which the story unfolds. I'm not actually comparing this book to Lord of the Rings, but (for me) that is one book that fills in so much history and detail of the world and history that the story seems real/plausible. Taylor did just that with her detail and understanding of her world making me feel as though this world did exist (or could). She obviously put much thought into this aspect of the story. Another facet that I found interesting and a nice change of pace is the 'hero'. He isn't some obscure, little figure that rises to hero status and is expected to save the world. Arren discovers that the world in which he lives and all notions of right and wrong are not what he first believed. His character's journey was very well written (sorry, I don't want to spoil the story with more details) - giving the reader insight and understanding into Arren and his world. I would most definitely recommend this book to others and I look forward to reading more from Taylor. ( )
  mlh2 | Aug 7, 2013 |
Another book that sounded like it would be perfect for me, supernatural creatures and their riders, someone struggling against odds. It read like several other authors that I have enjoyed, but this didn't quite work for me, things weren't helped by the fact that the information on the back contains a bit of a spoiler.

Arren Cardockson is from a race who were slaves where he lives, however he has risen to the status of Griffin's companion, however many people want him to fail, in some ways obviously. I have read a fair few of these and a lot of what happened was a bit obvious, particulalry for fans of the genre.

I wasn't interested enough to continue following the series. ( )
  wyvernfriend | May 14, 2013 |
The Dark Griffin is a story about a griffin and a human. The griffin has an unfortunately difficult life, fighting to survive from the time it's born. I was a bit surprised when I started reading, actually, that the first two chapters are told entirely from the point of view of griffins with humans barely featuring on the periphery. Taylor pulled it off, however. In a section that had the potential to feel like a drawn-out prologue, I was captivated the entire time.

In Taylor's world, griffins are as intelligent as humans, have varying magical powers and can talk. The humans that ride them are called griffiners and learn to speak the language of the griffins. Arren is a griffiner, despite being of Northern descent. His people were, until recently, slaves in his city and he looks a bit different to the Southerners he lives among. The only reason he's allowed to be a griffiner is because his griffin bonded to him when they were both and there was nothing to be done about it.

Arren's story is very much one of racism and ostracism. Once Arren's position in society becomes slightly less assured, he quickly finds out how thin the veneer protecting him was. A lot of bad things happen to Arren and almost all of them are thanks to racism against his people. After a comfortable life as a respected citizen with some status, denying his heritage out of shame, it all comes as a bit of a shock to him when he loses (ostensibly only some of) that status. Suddenly people no longer respect him and constantly use dismissive language against him ("Oh, but he's only a member of the slave-race"). (Possibly not a book to read if you're particularly sensitive of/triggered by racism and oppression generally.) In the end, Arren's actions, taken out of a desperation the reader can entirely understand, appear to be increasingly erratic to the people around him, giving them more ammunition to use against him. There were some gut-wrenchingly tragic moments.

I also liked how the racism was not based on skin colour. The small world Taylor created was based loosely on Britain and so there wasn't room, geographically, for wildly different ethnic characteristics. It's nice to be reminded that an ethnic group doesn't have to look completely different to be oppressed. And of course, the themes of racism/oppression explored in the novel are widely relevant to modern culture.

The Dark Griffin is a compelling novel. Both the griffin and Arren suffer due to unfair circumstances they cannot be blamed for, and their parallel stories intertwine to powerful effect. Another brilliant fantasy read by a brilliant Australian author. I have read few run-of-the-mill fantasy novels (particularly BFF — big fat fantasy) by Australians, and The Dark Griffin certainly doesn't buck that trend.

I highly recommend The Dark Griffin to all fantasy fans. In particular fans of any or some of Jennifer Fallon, Glenda Larke, Rowena Cory Daniells or Naomi Novik's Temeraire books will probably probably enjoy this book. Having foreseen a burning desire to read the whole series, I already have the rest of the trilogy on my TBR shelf and intend to pick up book two straight away.

5 / 5 stars

You can read more of my reviews on my blog. ( )
  Tsana | Jan 6, 2013 |
Going into this book I was expecting a traditional 'farm-boy-to-hero' story. A few chapters in I realised that The Dark Griffin isn't what I expected at all. Arren's dark story of betrayal and retribution realistically documents easily how quickly society turns on those who are different. Arren becomes a victim of a set up, designed to disgrace him and strip him of his power. At the first signs of trouble his neighbours and work mates condemn him and he very quickly loses the things he once took for granted such as his job and other people's trust and respect.

Arren is heavily victimised and I wondered for some time why he didn't fight back, until I remembered that he is only nineteen and has led a pretty privileged life until he was set up. The author does a wonderful job of bringing Arren's fear, anger and sense of helplessness to life, and I found him to be a very interesting character to read. Once his own friends and lover desert him Arren is forced to look for other ways out of his situation and ends up relying on the enigmatic black griffin Darkheart.

The griffins are a large part of the world Taylor has created, but the origins of their pairings with humans are unclear. In many ways this aspect of the story reminded me of Eragon. The griffins are fiercely loyal to their companions but the humans do not have control over them and they retain their fearsome nature. Since the novel alternates in view-point between Arren and Darkheart, it is easy to sympathise with the griffin as well, especially when his hunting of humans is seen through his eyes as an act of self-preservation. I did feel, however, that Darkheart had a very 'human' voice still - to again compare with Eragon, Sapphira had an alien voice when chapters were narrated from her view-point.

The novel is focussed on the alienation of Arren and Darkheart from all they hold dear, and as such prevents us from exploring any relationships they cultivate. Darkheart loses his family at a very young age and Arren quickly becomes an outcast in his birthplace. Thus I feel the supporting characters fall flat, and although I can see some of them sticking around for the rest of the series, I hope they become more dimensional.

The Dark Griffin is a wonderful read took me completely by surprise. I think any fan of fantasy is missing out if they haven't tried the series out yet - and I for one will be reading the next two books in the series soon. I was also sent the first book of the sequel trilogy, The Shadow's Heir, for review, so I will be reading that as well!

You can read more of my reviews at Speculating on SpecFic. ( )
  alcarinqa | Jul 1, 2012 |
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For Bran, you'll always be my big guy.
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It all began with the hatching of the dark griffin. A restless day. A grey day. Clouds the colour of lead lay low over the land like a blanket, and the wind that blew over the mountains had the tang of ice in it. Winter was over, but the memory of it lingered.
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"Being chosen as a griffin's companion has allowed Arren Cardockson to gain a place of status within the land of Cymria. But even with his griffin by his side, Arren can never escape the prejudice that comes with his Northerner slave origins. After an unfortunate incident leaves him in debt, Arren accepts the well-paying task of capturing a wild griffin, ignorant of the trials about to befall him. Betrayed by those he trusted and forced to fight for his life, Arren has nothing left besides the hatred growing inside him. But chained within the Arena, where rogue griffins battle to entertain the crowds, there lies another sould crying out to be freed--a kindred spirit who will allow Arren to fulfill his destiny and release the darkness in his heart."--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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