Child of the Erinyes
by Rebecca Lochlann
286 pages, Erinye Press
Review by Melissa Conway
I am acquainted with the author via social networking, which should in no way be construed as an admission that the following review is biased. If I don’t like a book, I won’t finish reading it no matter who wrote it. And, just so you know, there was never a chance that I might not finish this one, and not because of any sense of obligation. This is the second book in the Child of the Erinyes series, the first of which, The Year God’s Daughter, I reviewed here - and you can see by my enthusiasm I was eagerly awaiting the sequel.
We take up where the first novel left off (and it would be a major spoiler for the first book if I told you exactly where that was), but the brief idyll in princess Aridela’s young life is to be short-lived. With the violent suddenness only a mega-burp in the earth’s crust can dish up, her lush and peaceful home island of Crete is assaulted by a deadly pyroclastic blast from the volcanic island of Callisti, seventy miles away. Aridela and the newly crowned bull-king Chrysaleon barely survive, and to make matters worse, she believes she is the one who caused the devastation by angering the goddess Athene.
Author Lochlann does a fine job describing the destruction: inescapable waves of blistering heat and choking ash; the endless series of earthquakes and resulting tsunamis. The survivors are soon subjected to even more horror at the hands of a vengeful and opportunistic conqueror from the mainland, whose soldiers overrun the embattled island and pillage what little is left of the once proud and mighty civilization.
These are dark days for Aridela - sometimes graphically so; what she endures is not euphemistically portrayed - but deep inside she clings to the hope that she can withstand the abuse and prevail in order to appease Athene and restore freedom to her remaining people. Chrysaleon, too, endures much. On the verge of death, he has visions of an out-of-body journey to the heavenly land of the gods that enlightens him to his new status as The Thinara King - the one man with the power to change the destiny of everyone in the mortal world. But will he choose the right path?
I don’t want to give too much away. Let me just say in closing that this series is my new addiction. Lochlann is a meticulous writer, and I predict that the outpouring of accolades she is already receiving from her readers will eventually give her a well-deserved boost onto the best-seller lists.