Rating: 2.5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
I feel as though I need to begin this review by stating that as authors go, Amy Lane is near the top of my list. I have enjoyed a lot of her work and approached this novel with great interest as it was a Young Adult offering and I had not heard of her writing for this age group before. Along with that, Triane’s Son Rising is also a fantasy offering up both gods and goddesses and the ability of the “gifted” to have various special abilities, including shapeshifting.
What I was not prepared for was the idea that Lane was going to establish most of her critical characters in the first opening chapters of this story, along with creating her fantasy world. To say I was left confused and rather lost is an understatement. In the next few paragraphs, I will attempt to unpack this rather extensive world for you in the simplest of terms and then narrow into what I liked and, unfortunately did not enjoy, about this novel.
The story begins with the introduction of its main hero, Torrant, somewhere in the future and seemingly about to murder someone. He refers to the one true thing he loves, Yarri, and the hope that his own murderous soul does not taint or harm her. We then cut back in time to see where this man has come from and who this Yarri is to him. It is here that the author establishes the ties between Torrant, a poor gifted boy who’s mother has become the resident midwife by default after Torrant’s father died. It was his father that had the gift for delivering babies and Tor’s mother reluctantly took it on after her husband’s death and subsequently being sheltered by Owen Moon.
Owen Moon was a well-respected man who owned substantial lands where he was known for harboring and protecting the “gifted” who fell under the goddess Triane’s protection. Unfortunately, and for reasons unexplained at this point in the story series, another highly political official by the name of Rath sought out to destroy Moon and all those he kept safe. Hence, we watch with horror as almost all the inhabitants of Moon’s lands are slaughtered except for Torrant and Owen’s youngest daughter, Yarrow (Yarri). Now in a race against the enemy, Torrant sets out with Yarri to find refuge with Lane Moon, Owen’s brother.
Along the way, Torrant discovers that he can shapeshift into a snow leopard and that he and Yarri, although years apart in age, are destined for each other. He will do anything to protect her, even kill. Early on in their escape, they are saved by a serving woman in an inn from potential rape and abuse and are asked to take with them a gentle young man named Aldam who is also a “gifted” one—a healer. The deep friendship that springs up between Aldam and Torrant serves as the means for Torrant to hold onto his humanity on more than one occasion.
Now the trio must make for Hammer Pass through treacherous weather and over the mountain to Eiran, the home of Lane Moon and what they hope will be safety. If they make it there, then the hope is that Yarri will be safe from the long, hateful arm of Rath and they can live in peace with their grief.
To say that the above summary is just a scratch in the surface of this incredibly layered and sprawling story is an understatement, indeed. Numerous places and characters are introduced and many are compelling and interesting to read about for sure. I was very relieved when the trip finally arrived at Lane’s hometown by the ocean, as we seemed to finally settle down into a modest number of characters and events. I really grew to care for Aldam, Torrant, and Yarri. Their time with Uncle Lane and his wife Bethen and their children was a happy one and I felt I got a more complete picture of what drove Torrant and how the need for revenge was so deeply rooted inside him.
But then the story began to hop back and forth between short, rather cryptic passages in the future and the evolving past. Just as I felt I was getting a grip on the trajectory of the story and the characters, we leapt forward into the future and I was pushed out of the plotline and left trying to make sense of what was now happening. Along with that, was the introduction of characters we had not yet met but who obviously meant something to Torrant. Thankfully we would get to know these others before the end of the novel, but there would be no resolution or even further interaction with the future that had been dangled so many times throughout the story.
For me, there were simply too many loose ends by novel’s end. The idea that Torrant would wait for Yarri to grow up to love her, be joined to her, seemed just too far a stretch for me. She was a little girl and he a teenager. The age difference, at a time when hormones so often rule a boy, seemed just too wide to bridge. Also, the constant teasing that there would be revenge unleashed on Rath by Torrant was so drawn out. In fact, if I understood the futuristic snippets, Torrant would be out for Rath’s blood and nothing, even his supposed love for Yarri, would stop him.
Triane’s Son Rising was a huge undertaking for Amy Lane. The incredible cast of characters, the alternate world, the layered plot lines, and the constant revealing of “gifted” abilities left me more than confused and, at times, just uninterested. It was, simply put, too much story unpacked in the first novel of the series. I think for those who enjoy fantasy and do not mind the idea that story lines will not be resolved or even developed beyond the expository level of setting up the premise of the series and its key players, this novel will be a delight. Amy Lane is a talented writer and I am sure the subsequent novels in this series will address the many tangents left open. I hope that the next installment can remained focus on the main characters and the tie in to the future and be just a little less confusing.