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Airlann. The Source Isle of Magic. It is the Age of Autumn, the island locked in slow, beautiful death. Nine hundred years have passed since Jerrod II, last of the Goblin Kings, was assassinated by a child. After centuries of tyranny, the bloody days of human rule still haunt the long memories of the Fae. Their resplendent bastions have dwindled despite the peace, all but Airlann. The Source Isle of Magic. It is the Age of Autumn, the island locked in slow, beautiful death. Nine hundred years have passed since Jerrod II, last of the Goblin Kings, was assassinated by a child. After centuries of tyranny, the bloody days of human rule still haunt the long memories of the Fae. Their resplendent bastions have dwindled despite the peace, all but replaced by the superstitious squalor of mortal Man. The human peasantry cowers in remote villages, defending themselves with weapons of iron. The Red Caps, a fanatical army of goblins, have marshaled once more, intent on returning Jerrod’s tyrannical bloodline to power. Padric, a human farmhand and friend to the Fae, finds himself in the midst of the growing war. Rosheen, an alluring piskie and Padric’s lifelong friend, struggles to help him survive. They ally themselves with Deglan Loamtoes, a bigoted gnome herbalist, and Pocket, a changeling orphan fostered by the avian Knights of the Valiant Spur. Beset from all sides by vengeful skin-changers, bloodthirsty marauders and fire-crazed fanatics, these four wayfarers must discover the true identity of Jerrod’s long lost progeny before the goblins reawaken the genocidal soldiers of living iron known as the Forge Born. Can they lay aside their individual prejudices, reveal their long-held secrets, and work with those they distrust to prevent Airlann’s annihilation? Can they stand together to find and destroy the last scion of the Goblin Kings?


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Airlann. The Source Isle of Magic. It is the Age of Autumn, the island locked in slow, beautiful death. Nine hundred years have passed since Jerrod II, last of the Goblin Kings, was assassinated by a child. After centuries of tyranny, the bloody days of human rule still haunt the long memories of the Fae. Their resplendent bastions have dwindled despite the peace, all but Airlann. The Source Isle of Magic. It is the Age of Autumn, the island locked in slow, beautiful death. Nine hundred years have passed since Jerrod II, last of the Goblin Kings, was assassinated by a child. After centuries of tyranny, the bloody days of human rule still haunt the long memories of the Fae. Their resplendent bastions have dwindled despite the peace, all but replaced by the superstitious squalor of mortal Man. The human peasantry cowers in remote villages, defending themselves with weapons of iron. The Red Caps, a fanatical army of goblins, have marshaled once more, intent on returning Jerrod’s tyrannical bloodline to power. Padric, a human farmhand and friend to the Fae, finds himself in the midst of the growing war. Rosheen, an alluring piskie and Padric’s lifelong friend, struggles to help him survive. They ally themselves with Deglan Loamtoes, a bigoted gnome herbalist, and Pocket, a changeling orphan fostered by the avian Knights of the Valiant Spur. Beset from all sides by vengeful skin-changers, bloodthirsty marauders and fire-crazed fanatics, these four wayfarers must discover the true identity of Jerrod’s long lost progeny before the goblins reawaken the genocidal soldiers of living iron known as the Forge Born. Can they lay aside their individual prejudices, reveal their long-held secrets, and work with those they distrust to prevent Airlann’s annihilation? Can they stand together to find and destroy the last scion of the Goblin Kings?

30 review for The Exiled Heir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lee

    I am really enjoying Jonathan French's writing. He has a excellent way with characters. After reading the blurb I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this much, but given that I loved his The Grey Bastards I thought I would give it a go and I was thrilled to find that he is a bloody good writer and that Grey Bastards isn't a fluke. This is another book with many many species in it. Humans, Gnomes, Elves, Hob-Goblins, Giants (ish) and changelings and not to forget a Piskie (which is a naked pixie). The st I am really enjoying Jonathan French's writing. He has a excellent way with characters. After reading the blurb I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this much, but given that I loved his The Grey Bastards I thought I would give it a go and I was thrilled to find that he is a bloody good writer and that Grey Bastards isn't a fluke. This is another book with many many species in it. Humans, Gnomes, Elves, Hob-Goblins, Giants (ish) and changelings and not to forget a Piskie (which is a naked pixie). The storyline is solid and the world building is excellent, but what I like most about the writing is the characters, there is no vanilla here, you can tell the author spends time planning his characters and it shows in their development. From 8,000 year old grumpy Gnomes who act as Doctors to humans, but have a hatred for Goblins to changelings that can infiltrate any organisation as they can copy anyone. That is until you make them touch Iron and then they squeal like a pig. Oh and I almost forgot, the main characters are birds, Knight birds, the warriors based on the old Knight traditions, but with beaks and claws. The premise of the story has been told a thousand times, a missing heir, lined up to rule the world blah blah blah, a team of mismatched peeps banding together to save the world against insurmountable odds, but still, it works and I enjoyed it a lot and looking forward to diving into book 2. Apparently this is going to be a long series of many books.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Another excellent story from an author I’ve recently discovered. I’ve taken this book up after reading the author’s more recent and much lauded The Grey Bastards. That was so good I had to look at his earlier books, and this is the first of two books in a series. Initially it felt like I’d followed seeing a Tarintino film with a Disney Fairytale! In this story we are quickly confronted with fairies, goblins, gnomes, elves, dwarves, hybrids of the aforementioned, shapechangers, plus huge sentient m Another excellent story from an author I’ve recently discovered. I’ve taken this book up after reading the author’s more recent and much lauded The Grey Bastards. That was so good I had to look at his earlier books, and this is the first of two books in a series. Initially it felt like I’d followed seeing a Tarintino film with a Disney Fairytale! In this story we are quickly confronted with fairies, goblins, gnomes, elves, dwarves, hybrids of the aforementioned, shapechangers, plus huge sentient metal constructions and a rather heroic bunch of chivalric knights modelled on Bantum Cockerels. Quite a cast. Oh, and humans. It takes a couple of chapters to adjust to this world but the characters are recognisably human in outlook even if not human in body. The interactions and history of the various fantasy beings is gradually brought out as the story progress and is relevant to the overall plot. The action isn’t as gritty as Grey Bastards but is nothing like a kids Disney movie. It very quickly gets bloody. There are 2-3 main POVs but also some insights into the thoughts of a fair number of other characters. The characterisations are well done. Some are very sympathetic and I particularly liked the healer gnome’s (Deglan) cynical and witty barbed remarks about companions. It is also not clear whether some characters are on the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ sides in the conflict (those sides are pretty clear) and some flawed though probably ‘good’ characters (the Theign for example). Magic and mages exist but only lightly involved in the action until a critical conflict and, for once in such climatic scenes with magical forces involved, it fits in well. As I write this I can’t see the localised spoiler option for this part of the review so I’ll limit what I have to say about the very ending where one character is given a happy ending unnecessarily, in my view. I was also a bit unsure about the impact of shapechangers for being able to suddenly turn a situation upside down. But minor points. A solid 4.5* as I have to distinguish it from the author’s later Grey Bastards which is superb. But this was nonetheless an absorbing enjoyable read, from an author with excellent prose and imagination. So rounded to 5*. POSTSCRIPT: As I read the next in this series I can see that the happy ending I complained about, and shapeshifters, are an important part of the next stage in this saga. So I’m even happier with the 5* rating I gave it....

  3. 4 out of 5

    Derpa

    4,5 stars I had issues recently with picking up books I ended up not finishing because I didn't enjoy them at all. It's a consequence of A, me trying new authors and B, not having any reservations when it comes to just dropping books if I'm not having fun with them. But now I was getting annoyed, so I went with someone I knew I liked. On the surface this is another book where a bunch of random people team up to save the whole world from total destruction. It has all kinds of Fae, humans of cou 4,5 stars I had issues recently with picking up books I ended up not finishing because I didn't enjoy them at all. It's a consequence of A, me trying new authors and B, not having any reservations when it comes to just dropping books if I'm not having fun with them. But now I was getting annoyed, so I went with someone I knew I liked. On the surface this is another book where a bunch of random people team up to save the whole world from total destruction. It has all kinds of Fae, humans of course, those two mixed together, even rooster-people. Yes, gigantic roosters with arms, who can speak and do shit, it's actually pretty awesome if you're asking me. So far it sounds nothing special. But we are talking about Jonathan French, so there is that to be a bit extra. Again, he touches creatures I don't really like that much, in this case it's the Fae. One of our most important characters is a cute girl with wings. But still, I have no idea how, but the guy has such a good sense when it comes to writing a book that is enjoyable. I am convinced it is more than learning the art of putting words together and such. It is something he does as an instinct an I can't help appreciating it. You get attached. Somehow this book genuinely feels like part of something bigger, just a small slice of events that all happen during thousands of years and connect all the different characters and races. When a new element is added it fits. It does feel like the whole world is mapped out, not at all like the author just needed to throw in something and he desperately made it fit. (The Emperor's Blades , take note.) For a beginner it's especially impressive; what will this guy do later? Of course I have read The Grey Bastards by him, which was also brilliant, so there is that, but really, I feel there are no limits for Mr. French. It all just feels very old, like every single thing has a rich history. We aren't swamped by unnecessary infodumps, though. Delicate balance there, something not even ll the more famous and experienced authors can always manage perfectly. Now that said, I only gave it 4,5 stars. Why? Sometimes the conversations and thought processes weren't as logical and obvious that I would have liked. It felt a tiny bit of a beginner mistake, which is excusable as it is a first novel, it happens rarely and the rest of the book is really damn great. I also needed a bit of time to learn who was who, because I have issues with names, especially if they sound similar. I mean I understand that, though, they should sound like names of a cohesive language and culture. I'm also more willing to overlook minor bumps as I know for a fact that the author realised these, he took care of them and managed to learn how to avoid being confusing and vague. It's great to see that, honestly. It's hard to talk about the plot without giving away too much or sounding kind of deranged, trying to put together so many things. Just trust me on this, it's fun. There is a lot of action, it's not boring and it's creative. Now one of the things I pointed out about The Grey Bastards was how the plot twists were genuinely big, they changed all the things about the world you assumed to know. Here it's not that extreme and it doesn't even matter. The story is able to carry its own weight by just being so well done. I had one worry about this book before starting, namely if Mr. French could show a different face than his other series. That one has crass humour and a lot of it, it's just rough and hilarious like that. This isn't anything similar, not even close and that lets us know he is not some one trick pony. Again, where was this guy hiding? In a day and age when so many authors are super famous just writing the same stale stuff over and over again. We need to have higher standards for ourselves. There are such brilliant authors like this out there, unknown ones that you just have to discover. We don't have to just go with the big names because they are obvious choices. I salute all the new faces, like Jonathan French, Nicholas Eames, Benedict Patrick, etc. I will definitely read the sequel of this and if he ever writes more, that too for sure. I'm going to add Mr. French to the list of my favourite authors as well, because I can. There. Have a nice day and look for the new faces!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Katie Barber

    French's "The Exiled Heir" is an excellent action-driven story with captivating characters. The coburn and fomori are my favorite of the Fae; they are warriors to their cores, and I am a particularly big fan of these honorable combatants. I love that certain Fae are bound to specific elements: the undine to water, gnomes to earth, sylphs to air, and goblins to fire, which was stolen from the dragons of old. Pocket and Padric are tragically sad, yet equally strong-willed and resilient protagonist French's "The Exiled Heir" is an excellent action-driven story with captivating characters. The coburn and fomori are my favorite of the Fae; they are warriors to their cores, and I am a particularly big fan of these honorable combatants. I love that certain Fae are bound to specific elements: the undine to water, gnomes to earth, sylphs to air, and goblins to fire, which was stolen from the dragons of old. Pocket and Padric are tragically sad, yet equally strong-willed and resilient protagonists. These two youngsters are relatable to readers; products of early bullying developed into brave heroes. They are willing to sacrifice all to save their friends or to just do what is morally right. I thoroughly enjoyed their travels and watching them bargain with their lives through the the worst of situations, forging their minds into those of young adults. Airlann is a vibrant, often deadly place that is rich with history. French is profoundly talented at description and lovingly shapes this world of passion and pain, cursed to an eternal Autumn. "The Exiled Heir" is sure to evoke squees of joy from fantasy lovers across the globe with its twists and turns, leaving readers wondering who the characters really are, all the way to the novel's last pages. My only complaint is the endless painful roundabout that is the prologue. Clean it up or ditch it. A couple of bad pages are not enough to drop a star off of this literary gem though. Five stars, two thumbs up, and all that glitters like gold! Well done, Mr. French! I look forward to reading book two in the "Autumn's Fall Saga."

  5. 5 out of 5

    Joy

    Very enjoyable adventure with classic fae creatures of the "tin isles." It had enough grit to make circumstances urgent. The characters; gnome, pixie, goblin and corbun for the main actors, was tempered with humor and compassion, especially towards a human boy caught up in the bloody massacres by red-cap goblins. The writing is crisp and you never struggle in visualizing the action or environment which keeps the story fresh and engaging. Very enjoyable adventure with classic fae creatures of the "tin isles." It had enough grit to make circumstances urgent. The characters; gnome, pixie, goblin and corbun for the main actors, was tempered with humor and compassion, especially towards a human boy caught up in the bloody massacres by red-cap goblins. The writing is crisp and you never struggle in visualizing the action or environment which keeps the story fresh and engaging.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lesley Lane

    Wow! An incredibly well written and engaging story. I fell in love with all the characters, especially Padric, right away. Throughly enjoyed the story. Jonathan, you wrote a great book. I look forward to reading your other works.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    One word - Brilliant!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Katharina

    I don‘t know why this book isn‘t better known. I pocked it up because of the hype about the „Bastard“-book. I don‘t want to start this series because it‘s not yet finished so I started this ome without realizing that it‘s possibly just book 1 out of 8. Bummer. Nevertheless this book is unique. It took me some time to „fall into it“ but it finally caught me truley! One of the best fantasy books for a long time. Comes close to Brandon Sandersons ability of worldbuilding. Mr Frenchs ability for wonde I don‘t know why this book isn‘t better known. I pocked it up because of the hype about the „Bastard“-book. I don‘t want to start this series because it‘s not yet finished so I started this ome without realizing that it‘s possibly just book 1 out of 8. Bummer. Nevertheless this book is unique. It took me some time to „fall into it“ but it finally caught me truley! One of the best fantasy books for a long time. Comes close to Brandon Sandersons ability of worldbuilding. Mr Frenchs ability for wonderful prosa (do you say that in english?) was so satisfying - this book seemed old in a good way. Heavy language.. Do you get what I mean? I really enjoyed all of the characters, although Rosheen and the Coburns (chicken knights! - I mean HONESTLY?!) are my favourites. Please, read this book. It is really wonderful!

  9. 4 out of 5

    brian gallagher

    Get It I started this stuff 42 years ago with The Hobbit.If you care more about developing a relationship with the characters as you read fantasy,get this.If you think you can always guess what's always going to happen next in the adventure,but love to get surprised,get this.I strongly recommend checking this French guy out Get It I started this stuff 42 years ago with The Hobbit.If you care more about developing a relationship with the characters as you read fantasy,get this.If you think you can always guess what's always going to happen next in the adventure,but love to get surprised,get this.I strongly recommend checking this French guy out

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cam Crowder

    From the very first page, Jonathan French's exceptional use of prose pulls you right into the story. The first character you meet, Padric, is a pretty typical kid in his late teens. I say typical, because from the first chapter you see him take a pretty extreme emotional leap because he's mad at his ex. And let's face it, as teens we all did some stupid stuff, so kudos to Mr. French for capturing the volatile nature of teenage emotions. Now, if you're not a fan of younger heroes, don't worry, the From the very first page, Jonathan French's exceptional use of prose pulls you right into the story. The first character you meet, Padric, is a pretty typical kid in his late teens. I say typical, because from the first chapter you see him take a pretty extreme emotional leap because he's mad at his ex. And let's face it, as teens we all did some stupid stuff, so kudos to Mr. French for capturing the volatile nature of teenage emotions. Now, if you're not a fan of younger heroes, don't worry, there are plenty of other leads for you to latch onto, and let me tell you, they're all quite diverse and a treat to get to know. From the foul-mouthed Deglan, a Gnome medicine man with a chip on his shoulder, to Flynn, a squire of the Order of the Spur (humanoid rooster knights) whose nonchalant smartassery in the face of danger quickly made him one of my favorites. From the start, you're thrown into the world head-first, and you'll be thrown some title and phrases you don't understand yet (Piskie-Kissed for instance,) but all of those are explained at some point in the book, so don't worry. To keep this from getting too long-winded, I'll go ahead and wrap up: The Exiled Heir is a refreshing take the Fantasy genre that has become pretty stagnant over the last decade. This isn't A Song of Ice and Fire anymore than it's The Wheel of Time or The Sword of Truth, and that's great. It's a book that just tries to be itself, and I think you'll find it's exceedingly efficient at it. I'm looking forward to diving into book 2 very soon.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    It's the first in a new series by a brand new author: Jonathan French. From what I remember when he and I spoke, he plans on either 6 (or 9) books in the series and hopes to release one a year. The series is "Autumn's Fall", the book is The Exiled Heir. In all, a very well written fantasy story. With Red Caps (evil goblins), piskies (pixies), humans and more fighting the ultimate battle of good versus evil. The story centers around 4 different characters. Padric - a human, Rosheen - a piskie, Deg It's the first in a new series by a brand new author: Jonathan French. From what I remember when he and I spoke, he plans on either 6 (or 9) books in the series and hopes to release one a year. The series is "Autumn's Fall", the book is The Exiled Heir. In all, a very well written fantasy story. With Red Caps (evil goblins), piskies (pixies), humans and more fighting the ultimate battle of good versus evil. The story centers around 4 different characters. Padric - a human, Rosheen - a piskie, Deglan Loamtoes - a gnome and Pocket - a changeling. This book gives the background primarily of Padric and Pocket, with just enough of the other two to keep it going. It also sets the stage for the next book. It moves fairly quickly, it certainly works to keep your attention. As you would expect, it's hard to tell at the beginning just how the individual stories will intertwine and at the end it leaves you hanging to find out how they will stay that way. I can't say I was hugely surprised by the ending, though. I'm definitely looking forward to the next in the series. I won't give the synopsis of the story here, you can check that out at the author's web site. I will say it is a good read from a new author. I would recommend that for my friends with younger kids, read it first before handing it over to your kids. I will let my kids read it, though. For my fantasy reading friends, worth the time to check it out if you can.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jay Barber

    Right from the beginning this book feels old, and I mean that in the best possible way. The world that French has built is amazingly rich in history... dark, gritty, visceral history. There's a very real sense that this world has existed for a long long time and the characters are an integral part of it, a feeling that is often missing in fantasy books. The characters themselves are just as complex as the world in which they live. There are no two dimensional characters. All the creatures you me Right from the beginning this book feels old, and I mean that in the best possible way. The world that French has built is amazingly rich in history... dark, gritty, visceral history. There's a very real sense that this world has existed for a long long time and the characters are an integral part of it, a feeling that is often missing in fantasy books. The characters themselves are just as complex as the world in which they live. There are no two dimensional characters. All the creatures you meet as you read the book are as rich in their own personal history as the world itself. I won't spoil anything, but there is a major twist at the end of this book that I did not see coming and it blew my mind. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a lover of fantasy and fully realized fantasy worlds.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Cross

    A great book from an awesome author. Fantasy can oftentimes become overwrought and plodding, especially with the creation of new races, lands, people, and naming conventions. You're just as likely to find an Aslan as you are a Q't'hy'a'h sometimes. Fortunately, French manages to deftly sidestep these concerns by making the book understandable, fun, exciting, and entirely - uniquely - his. I've spoken with the author a few times through a mutual friend and I have great respect for the man and his A great book from an awesome author. Fantasy can oftentimes become overwrought and plodding, especially with the creation of new races, lands, people, and naming conventions. You're just as likely to find an Aslan as you are a Q't'hy'a'h sometimes. Fortunately, French manages to deftly sidestep these concerns by making the book understandable, fun, exciting, and entirely - uniquely - his. I've spoken with the author a few times through a mutual friend and I have great respect for the man and his work. If you want a realm cribbed straight from Dungeons and Dragons, this is not one. If you want a vibrant world full of rich characters and an intriguing history, this is your book. From one author to another, well done.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Deana Boswell

    Great read I enjoyed this story very much. The story was imaginative and was hard to put down. I would recommend it to anyone who has an imagination

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    Not without faults but a worthy read. What I didn't expect is that it is merely a bit of background before the real meat of the second book - which is quite stunning. Make sure you read the next one. Not without faults but a worthy read. What I didn't expect is that it is merely a bit of background before the real meat of the second book - which is quite stunning. Make sure you read the next one.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ed

    I enjoyed this book, particularly the first half. The world building is done well with an entertaining mix of classic fantasy creatures, some with an interesting twist on the standards. The world has a well realised sense of history and feels fresh despite utilising many common themes and character types from the genre. The lives of the key protagonists are easy to fall into as the story opens and Padric, Pocket and Deglan are engaging narrators with their early story arcs drawing you naturally I enjoyed this book, particularly the first half. The world building is done well with an entertaining mix of classic fantasy creatures, some with an interesting twist on the standards. The world has a well realised sense of history and feels fresh despite utilising many common themes and character types from the genre. The lives of the key protagonists are easy to fall into as the story opens and Padric, Pocket and Deglan are engaging narrators with their early story arcs drawing you naturally into the wider world of Airlann. As the book progressed the pacing ramps up nicely but the levels of coincidence also build to a degree that began to detract from the story a little for me. This is a regular occurrence in the world of fantasy fiction, but I found it relatively easy to ignore due to the judicious and regular insertion of additional entertaining tier two characters, particularly Muckle the prancing Hob goblin, and the well written action sequences. In my view, The Grey Bastards, another of French's stories manages this escalation from the every day to the epic in what felt a less coincidental way and was even more enjoyable for this. In terms of the world itself, the author took many fantasy tropes (goblins, elves (sort of), wizards etc) and demonstrated an ability to give them a new and unusual twist, alongside some innovative ideas I haven't encountered before - warrior chickens being a great example and I look forward to more Bantam Flynn in the sequel. French has a deft writing style, handling action well, managing to avoid clunky dialogue and bringing his world to life vividly. Black Pool and the Holm were particularly well wrought, one through the eyes of a naive child and the other from the viewpoint of a cantankerous old gnome! I was particularly impressed with the dialogue, each character felt unique and spoke in their own voice, significantly adding to how quickly they became familiar. This was also handled really well on the lesser characters (lesser in terms of focus, not entertainment value) Muckle and Flynn, where French was able to walk the fine line between humour, absurdity and arrogance. This only occasionally felt like a first novel - with some events a little rushed or under explained and the magic system remaining a total mystery. I had particular issues with Slouch Hat the husk, a potentially interesting character, who seemed to be used primarily for expository purposes initially and then to be the vessel for some poorly rationalised magical mayhem in the finale. It might seem to be a small thing to gripe about the rational in a fantasy story, particular when it comes to magic, but strangely I find that the ability to suspend disbelief and to fully invest in these types of story are best served by a well structured world with its own set of rules and systems, all of which can be brought tumbling down by all powerful magic manifesting out of nowhere. These authorial get out of jail free cards can destroy the carefully woven sense of jeopardy that the characters have been put in and can tarnish an otherwise excellent story. Compare this for example with the worlds constructed by Patrick Rothfuss or Brandon Sanderson where the limits and costs of wielding power are far clearer and therefore add to the tension within the story rather than detracting from it. Fortunately, this only really becomes an issue in the final pages and in fact, the ending sequence was the only let down for me. Despite being another well written set piece, it contains just a few too many silver bullets and a couple of twists that managed to be both a bit obvious and a bit gratuitous. Regardless of these relatively minor complaints, I tore through his book in a few long, hot train journeys, in less than a week. It's a cracking first book and a real achievement from what seems to be a self published newcomer to the genre. I look forward to revisiting Airlann again!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bret James Stewart

    The Exiled Heir is the first book I have read by Jonathan French. The book itself is attractive and well lain out. I noticed no grammar or spelling errors. Success in these areas is an accomplishment for self-pubs and I appreciate his attention to detail. He has done a superb job in creating a realistic fantasy world. His descriptions of locales and personae are excellent, and I had no problem envisioning people and places as I read along. The book has a quasi-Celtic feel to it, which I find intr The Exiled Heir is the first book I have read by Jonathan French. The book itself is attractive and well lain out. I noticed no grammar or spelling errors. Success in these areas is an accomplishment for self-pubs and I appreciate his attention to detail. He has done a superb job in creating a realistic fantasy world. His descriptions of locales and personae are excellent, and I had no problem envisioning people and places as I read along. The book has a quasi-Celtic feel to it, which I find intriguing. His characterization is also grand, and the characters have quirks and foibles that are endearing (or otherwise) that add to the realism. The gnome herbalist, Deglan Loamtoes, is my favourite character, but I like the other main characters, too, and French allows you to learn and feel along with them. This is a rare talent for an author and is part of the reason I think most people, especially those with a penchant for fantasy, will enjoy the ride. You really do feel as if you are there experiencing the story. Speaking of story, this one is fairly typical in that it involves a band of misfits who are brought together to ward off some ancient evil. Still, this is not a negative as French weaves the tale together in such a winsome way that you will be hard pressed to stop reading. Despite these positives, French disappoints with his decision to include major cursing. By major, I mean level of wording; there is not a lot of cursing in the book, but what is present is bad. This is a shame because a true artist can create a work of art without this. I am not at all privy to French’s decision for the inclusion of foul language, and this is his choice. Still, I do not like to read this. I would have loved to have seen a fully-wonderful tale that excites the imagination that does not rely on the occasional four-letter word for shock value. I deduct two stars for this. Those who do not like any foul language will want to pass on this book; I recommend it to all others.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marcos

    OH. MY. FRIGGING. GOD. I'm not exaggerating whatsoever when I say this is one of the best books I've ever laid my hands on. It ticks all the right boxes: First of all, the world-building is dumbfounding. I mean, even though it drinks deeply from previous literature and myths, this book plays perfectly with them to mold new creatures and create new twists and angles to them. There's a perfect blend in this book when it comes to keeping an aura of mystery and disclosing the necessary OH. MY. FRIGGING. GOD. I'm not exaggerating whatsoever when I say this is one of the best books I've ever laid my hands on. It ticks all the right boxes: First of all, the world-building is dumbfounding. I mean, even though it drinks deeply from previous literature and myths, this book plays perfectly with them to mold new creatures and create new twists and angles to them. There's a perfect blend in this book when it comes to keeping an aura of mystery and disclosing the necessary information not to make the reader feel at sea while trying to figure out what's going on. The protagonists aren't perfect, not at all, and it's this feature above anything else that makes them much more real than if they were. They manage to lure you and play with your emotions while you read and try to delve into their minds in order to anticipate their actions and struggle to relate to them. Magic and jesters f***ing rock, let's just leave it at that. So, as much as I'd want to find something amiss with this book, I'd struggle an awful lot. For me Jonathan French is up there with such terrific writers as Nicholas Eames, Joe Abercrombie or Brandon Sanderson, if this book is anything to go by. Final rating: 10/10 (no doubt about it)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    The one thing that stood out to me is how French handles the races in this book. We are introduced to races that are relatively unique and some that we are at least passingly familiar with. In both instances the reader is treated with just enough descriptions to understand the physical appearance and everything else is fleshed out over the rest of the book. There isn't any lengthy exposition but rather a tight weaving of these things into the story itself. It's really a properly done bit of worl The one thing that stood out to me is how French handles the races in this book. We are introduced to races that are relatively unique and some that we are at least passingly familiar with. In both instances the reader is treated with just enough descriptions to understand the physical appearance and everything else is fleshed out over the rest of the book. There isn't any lengthy exposition but rather a tight weaving of these things into the story itself. It's really a properly done bit of worldbuilding. The story itself is a bit choppy in its flow but that minor flaw is more than overshadowed by the actual story. French weaves a tale that is full of intrigue and action with an almost perfect balance between the two. The reader is given time to relax between tensions and I never felt rode hard and put away wet after a few chapters. Bantam Flyn gives us a coming of age story whilst Pocket presents use with the classic trope of the hidden heir. Weaving those two together with separate chacters for each trope is done well. While those are the tropes I enjoyed the most here they aren't the only ones done well. I really appreciate the work it must have taken to craft multiple, classic fantasy tropes whilst creating such a vibrant world.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    WOW! I can’t praise this book highly enough. What wonderful characters and such an exciting story. Such a variety of personalities and each one special in their own right. I love the fantasy genre and I can’t remember ever reading about a Knight errant who was also a Rooster....... marvellous! I loved Padric even though he was a bit of a misery guts, and Rosheen was a complete delight. I lost my heart to the Coburn but I want to adopt Pocket. A sheer delight cover to cover. I’ve noticed some reviews WOW! I can’t praise this book highly enough. What wonderful characters and such an exciting story. Such a variety of personalities and each one special in their own right. I love the fantasy genre and I can’t remember ever reading about a Knight errant who was also a Rooster....... marvellous! I loved Padric even though he was a bit of a misery guts, and Rosheen was a complete delight. I lost my heart to the Coburn but I want to adopt Pocket. A sheer delight cover to cover. I’ve noticed some reviews complaining about the prologue? Personally I really enjoyed it and thought it set the scene perfectly for the story that followed. I wouldn’t change anything. Now onwards to Bantam Flyn 😃

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Palmer

    Fantastic Story. I bought this book after reading the The Bastards. At the time however as few other books came out and it disappeared into my reading pile. After finding myself without a book I came across this book again. After a few pages I couldn't put it down. I really enjoyed this book and its world building and characters. I guessed the ending a while before the end but still really raced towards it. My only complaint would be it was too short to give enough of the characters for me. Other Fantastic Story. I bought this book after reading the The Bastards. At the time however as few other books came out and it disappeared into my reading pile. After finding myself without a book I came across this book again. After a few pages I couldn't put it down. I really enjoyed this book and its world building and characters. I guessed the ending a while before the end but still really raced towards it. My only complaint would be it was too short to give enough of the characters for me. Otherwise it would have 5 stars in place of 4

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nigel P

    Amazing A truly breathtaking experience, couldn’t stop reading this and loved every sentence. I’d just finished an Andrew Cobble tale when my kindle suggested The Grey Bastards, which sounded fun but, I’d not come across Jonathan French before so I decided to start at the beginning- very glad I did. This is a rather different take on fantasy characters and I like it, it is also a really well crafted tale with well rounded and interesting characters. Off to buy ‘The Errantry of Bantam Flynn’.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Logan

    Fantastic imaginative world full of interesting races based on Irish folklore. Characters are all fully realized. Looking forward to reading book 2 and definitely hoping the author continues the series, amidst publishing the first book in his next series: The Grey Bastards. All signs indicate that book will be a big hit, fresh off of winning the 2016 SPFBO. This author is the real deal.

  24. 4 out of 5

    daniel wrench

    Read full review I nearly gave up on this book. A lot of lore unexplained at the start. Its a slow starter! Once it does get going its great. I think a cast list of characters would be a good idea. I'd also like to see what the author thinks the Knight and squire look like as well as the other characters. Will be reading more Read full review I nearly gave up on this book. A lot of lore unexplained at the start. Its a slow starter! Once it does get going its great. I think a cast list of characters would be a good idea. I'd also like to see what the author thinks the Knight and squire look like as well as the other characters. Will be reading more

  25. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    Good, and finished too soon. One of the most impressive things is how well the multiple viewpoints were handled. Too often there will be characters where you want to skip their chapters, (and thus become good points to put the book down and go to bed). Here, it didn't happen, (and I'm now looking forward to a good night's sleep). Good, and finished too soon. One of the most impressive things is how well the multiple viewpoints were handled. Too often there will be characters where you want to skip their chapters, (and thus become good points to put the book down and go to bed). Here, it didn't happen, (and I'm now looking forward to a good night's sleep).

  26. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    I was glued to this book as soon as it I was glued to this book as soon as i started the characters were all beautifuly intertwined . I have already bought book 2 and look forward to starting

  27. 5 out of 5

    Philipp Fehre

    Enjoyable story placed in an unknown world I really enjoyed the characters and the world.created. The story telling can be a little rough on some places. But as a start of a new series it definitely is something i look forward to come back too.

  28. 4 out of 5

    andrew holling

    As much as I loved the bastards I really couldnt get on with this and gave up half way through. Lots of complicated characters but i struggled to picture many of them. Story very slow and seemed to be based around fighting Cocks. Sorry Jonathan. Not a series for me.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    Loved this story. No element overdone. Not trying too hard. All just right. Pleased to also have The Errantry of Bantam Flyn. Starting it now. Yes I said Bantam. No you wouldn't believe me if I told you! Be foolish to let that put you off. Enjoy. Audiobook: Sean Bean? Liam Neeson? Loved this story. No element overdone. Not trying too hard. All just right. Pleased to also have The Errantry of Bantam Flyn. Starting it now. Yes I said Bantam. No you wouldn't believe me if I told you! Be foolish to let that put you off. Enjoy. Audiobook: Sean Bean? Liam Neeson?

  30. 4 out of 5

    Deirdre Stewart

    This was different!!! I really enjoyed this tale. I read a fair number of books that could be filed under 'fantasy', but this was a different kind of book for me. Very imaginative, complex and captivating. This was different!!! I really enjoyed this tale. I read a fair number of books that could be filed under 'fantasy', but this was a different kind of book for me. Very imaginative, complex and captivating.

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