D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
Rites of Heirdron is Book 1 of a powerful fantasy telling of a prince betrayed, a planet laid to waste, and a series of political alliances and special interests that don’t bode well for the world. It’s a recommended pick for readers of military sci-fi and stories that embrace interplanetary conflicts and political systems.
A young bastard prince is tasked with putting together clues about how his world has been broken and how a shattered people can be put back together again – but like Humpty Dumpty, the task seems impossible, with pieces widely scattered and no clear template for restoration in sight.
If this sounds like a typical one-dimensional fantasy, be advised that Rites of Heirdron is far more complex than a simple plot overview could provide; and this is because it juxtaposes many different concerns and interests as well as different methods of problem-solving and viewing the world.
What happens when left-brain thinking, for example, encounters information beyond its ability to analyze? The clash between linear beliefs and thinking processes and the type of perception that comes from accepting a bit of magic and psychic influence on the world makes for one of the many engrossing sub-plots in Rites of Heirdron: “In most cases, the pursuit of knowledge is paramount. However, in dealings of faith, trust in those who’ve come before you. Greater men have forfeited their lives pursuing that which is forbidden. Your analytical mind is in conflict with your faith.”
Another facet (picking just one of many) is the prince’s love for a special woman who is one of many in his harem: an unusual love which defies the rules. The story of their evolving romance is just one of the threads that links the story with diverse pieces of personal and political intrigue.
No light affair, Rites of Heirdron‘s dual focus on changing worlds and hearts moves deftly from personal to political realms, incorporates a quest that could change everything, and tasks its characters with growth and purpose beyond their familiar upbringings. It’s a recommended pick for readers who like their sci-fi spiced with more than light romance, but who want that romance wrapped in the heavier cloak of sacrifice, duty, and life-changing decisions.
Reviewed By Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite
A beautiful blend of sci-fi and fantasy, Rites of Heirdron by Newland Moon is the kind of opening readers would want for a series that is engaging and entertaining. Zrahnz is a character readers will love, a bastard prince, scorned and derided as the “unclaimed,” and one destined to save his people and restore the health of his planet. These are turbulent times, with neighboring powers conniving to create havoc on his world. He will have to understand a shady past, discover a prophecy that has been long forgotten, and find the right allies if he’s to be recognized as the legitimate ruler of his world. But first he must be healed from a disturbing illness and understand why he is irresistibly drawn to the Earthling, Itanya, and why she has such a powerful effect on him.
The entertainment in this epic tale is huge. I enjoy stories that start in the midst of action and Rites of Heirdron is one such book. It begins with a serious training activity and the reader gets a feel of the agony the protagonist goes through. Zrahnz’s plea to Raydren to stay with him already suggests that the conflict would be huge, and it turns out to be so. The plot is woven with intricacies, with a cast of solid characters littered across the beautiful setting, a plot infused with intense action.
The idea that the protagonist gets treated like an outcast is captivating, a perfect allusion to the biblical image of the rejected stone that became the cornerstone. Newland Moon has the gift of integrating strong themes like love and friendship, loyalty, faith, and redemption into a beautiful story in a seamless manner. The writing is flawless, crisp and tight, with vivid descriptions that capture the intense action excellently. You’ll be pulled in and it will be hard to take your eyes off the characters.
When I first won this book, I didn’t know what to expect. Most science fiction romances are similar with not much to the plot. Not this one! Rites of Heirdron is reminiscent of an epic fantasy with futuristic elements. I loved it!
Zrahnz’s struggles are heart-wrenching and I couldn’t decide if I loved him or Q-1 Raydren more. In actuality, there’s more than one romance in this novel. That was an unexpected pleasure and added more to the depth of not only the plot, but also the characters.
Itanya was another great character. At first, I wasn’t sure what to think about her being a part of his “laranhge.” (That’s the equivalent of a harem). As the story progressed, I fell in love with her and realized she was one of the most intriguing and important characters in the story. I can’t wait to find out everything about her past and family.
There’s so many aspects to this story with mind manipulators, shadow whisperers, core beings, spirit wielders, oracles, and many more, Rites of Heirdron is filled with intrigue, twists, and action.
The influence of the shadow whisperers was dynamic! I am hoping for much more of them in the next book.
In conclusion, I’m thrilled to recommend this book 100%! It’s not your average science fantasy romance and will leave you wanting more!
Zrahnz’s world has been mostly destroyed. He is deemed a bastard because of a bad bargain his grandfather made with the ruler of a neighboring planet. Unless he receives the Rites of Heirdron soon, he will not survive. Still, he seeks ways to save his people and tries to understand his fascination with the Earthling woman, Itanya. She calms him in a way that his concubines do not and he doesn’t understand why she should be the one to ease his pain.
The worlds here are complex and there are a lot of characters to follow, but it is well worth it. Rites of Heirdron has a plotline that draws the reader in and builds as the story progresses. I took my time reading this book, enjoying the different threads that interweave to make an enthralling story. There are sexual situations, political intrigue, personal growth, and a bit of ‘magic’/psychic abilities that keep the storyline moving at a steady pace. This is not straight science fiction; there is some romance and some fantasy mixed into the plot which makes it different and very intriguing.
I was happy to see that this is Volume I; I can’t wait for the next book in the series.
Deserves serious attention!
Taking a chance with a new science fantasy author is usually risky, especially in this genre. And although I got a copy of the book as a prize in a contest, reading the first few pages of Rites of Heirdron impressed me enough to really “sink” in its world. And what a world it was–Newland Moon has a knack for crafting scenes, descriptions and tension that can take your breath away, especially those particular scenes with Zrahnz and Itanya in them.
I cannot give away the spoilers here, of course, but let me try to describe some of its best narrative aspects. The story dredges through a number of meaningful issues–it touches upon the issue of race, although in an “interplanetary” sense, but racism nonetheless. It reminds me of those episodes in the original Star Trek in which the central plot navigated these touchy subjects with thrilling finesse, and that’s the same with Rites. It’s not at all preachy with some of its heavier meanings; instead, author Moon subtly slips everything in between the layers of scenes, right along with the story’s forward movement.
I also love the fact that Zhranz is saddled with both a blessing and a curse in many ways. His power is double-edged, like a Damoclean sword hanging over his head, and that fact makes Itanya’s presence all the more meaningful.
I love the twists and turns of this little book. At its best, Rites is delightfully entertaining and should keep you enthralled for many hours. A great read!
As an engineer, when I read for entertainment I often turn to science fiction: fantastic weapons, futuristic machines, interplanetary travel all seem to naturally attract and even nurture the inner geek. Sadly, much popular science fiction seems to depend too heavily on the “technology” side of story-telling. Devices are substituted for characters and astrophysical hypotheses for plot, resulting in reads that are fast, shallow, and ultimately not satisfying or memorable.
I found The Rites of Heirdron to be a very pleasing exception. The author, Newland, has written a complex tale of a young prince struggling to piece together the hidden history of betrayals that has almost succeeded in destroying the entire sentient population of his planet. Without knowing why or how, he understands that once the evil is exposed he will have a means to stop and even reverse the damage, saving his world. The young prince’s heroic efforts are complicated by a debilitating biological abnormality of his species.
Obviously, there are other actors on the stage. The queen — disgraced by the manipulations of numerous powerful factions — and the first officer of her guard must helplessly stand by, bound by an incompletely known maze of edicts and treaties that are part of the system of betrayal that was forced on their planet. The bad guys are galactic coalitions and plunderers from other galaxies and of course the rival planets. There’s even a spiritual dimension with good and evil presences: oracles and spirit whisperers and spirit wielders. (I found it enjoyable karma when the bad guys, who tended to think very commercial thoughts supported by very concrete technology, were forced to consider the potential impacts of those unseen, unknown beings.)
The most interesting character, besides the prince, is a beautiful mahogany-complexioned Earth female. After arriving on the planet as a crew-member of an interstellar cargo ship she finds herself as the de facto favorite among what can only be described as the prince’s harem. This development is not pleasing to her new-found rivals nor to the queen. However, in addition to providing a number of well-written intimate interludes, she is ultimately revealed as a … well, why don’t you read it and find out.
Moon’s story is just that – a story, with a logical complex plot, with characters that are unique and interesting, with dialogue that moves the action and reveals the characters. There are elements of future technology but these are parts of the scenery, not the purpose of the novel. The author has the ability to move the story in a way that is logical and consistent with itself and the characters while frequently providing twists and surprises that make it hard to stop reading. This was the first offering that I’ve read from Newland Moon, but I certainly will look forward to others.