Medalon by Jennifer Fallon is the first book in the Hythrun Chronicles. The second book is titled Treason Keep with the third being Harshini. An interesting note, in Australia and the United Kingdom list these three books as The Demon Child trilogy. This is Ms. Fallon's first novel, and I have to admit I found this novel purely by accident while looking at books on Amazon. This novel appeared as one of my recommendation and it seemed mildly interesting so I decided to take a chance and get it.
The plot of this novel is very deep and involved. The main plot line is that of the long fabled tale about the emergence of the Demon Child and just what that means for all the people of the land. No one knows who the Demon child is, or just what the Demon Child is supposed to do. I found it a little different, that this is the main plot of the novel but seems to take a back seat to all the subplots most of the time. There are also a myriad of subplots permeating this book, such as a couple of political plots focusing on the Sisterhood and that of a bordering nation. There is a power struggle within the Sisterhood as well. Additionally, there are a number of heathen gods, who may play some part in the Demon Child's story. There are also a group of heathens (rebels) who are seeking to stop the Sisterhood's persecution of their beliefs. Lastly, there is a race of people who are no more than children's bedtime stories who may yet play a part in the unfolding tale. As I said before, this story is rich in range and scope, in fact all the subplots I touched on are only a sampling of what is in the pages. I didn't want to spoil anything, suffice it to say this is a very solid story.
The characters in this novel are as deep and rich as the story. Much like the multiple plots, there are also a plethora of characters as well. The main characters are Tarja and R'shiel who are a Defender and a probate in the Sisterhood respectively. Along the way they meet many, many people. I was trying to come up with a way to really talk about the characters and such without spoiling anything, but I have come to realize to really talk about them would spoil things for the reader. So, please excuse the generic discussion. All the characters in this book have some character development. The main two, Tarja and R'shiel, obviously have the most development but it is fantastic progression. All the dialogue for the characters is believable and allows each character to have his or her own voice. Each characters actions seem to hinge on the character's own personal motivations and convictions. Not only that, but Ms. Fallon's writing quickly drew me into caring about the characters and what happened to them. Simply put, these characters were a joy to read about.
I do have a couple of criticisms about this novel however.
First, and this really has nothing to do with Ms. Fallon, there are some editing mistakes in the novel. Such as misspellings, missing words etc. The only reason I list this is because they are very obvious and being that this novel (at least the copy I have) is in the second printing - these things should have been fixed by the publisher.
Secondly, there were a couple points in the story that seemed rather predictable of what was going to happen next. This isn't a really big deal, especially in the fantasy genre where stories tend to repeat themselves, but none-the-less it was there.
With all that said, I think Ms. Fallon deserves high praise for this novel. Her prose is fluid and easy to read. The progression of the story, and characters, makes logical sense and happens in a very believable way. When I finished reading this novel and found out that this was Ms. Fallon's first novel I was shocked. To me this reads as though it is from a seasoned writer. Ms. Fallon obviously spent a great deal of time not only on the story and characters, but building the world as well. I really enjoy reading novels where the world itself has a particular story and history to it. That is certainly the case here.
All in all I really enjoyed this novel. My only regret is that I had to stumble upon this novel, and I didn't do it sooner. This is certainly a book fans of the fantasy genre should read. I would even go so far as to say that people considering reading fantasy should think about starting with this one. It's a solid novel and one I am happy to have read. This is a book that will certainly be at the top of my recommendation list when people ask for a good fantasy book. I only hope the rest of this series can live up to the promise of this novel.