Review: Odriel’s Heirs

Review: Odriel’s Heirs

By: Hayley Reese Chow

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Indie Press

Pages: 178

Publication Date: March 1, 2020

Many centuries ago, a great war with the undead ripped Okarria apart. To stop the destruction and restore the balance, the God of Creation, Odriel imbued three humans with unique gifts to pass down through their bloodlines to answer the call to defend the land once again. The Time heir has been blessed with the ability to heal, while the Shadow heir can conceal himself and strike from the shadows and the Dragon heir wields fire to devastating effect. Centuries of peace have brought prosperity to Okarria, but the Heirs are held regard and suspicion.

Seventeen-year-old Kaia has been training all her life to take over her father’s responsibilities as the next Dragon Heir. Much to her frustration, the villagers want nothing to do with her and treat her with fear and hatred. A teenager with the capability to burn down the entire village if she loses her temper in a Dragon Rage is a too much of a risk for any of the villagers to want her there. And Kaia, very much a teenager, wants very desperately to be like anyone else in the village and live a normal life, even if only to wear a pretty dress and go to a festival. 

When a necromancer rises to attack Okarria, Kaia must quickly learn to master her Dragon Fire to fulfill her duty as the Dragon Heir to stop an invasion of the undead Lost. First, she must join the other Heirs and resolve her rivalry with the infuriating Shadow Heir before the Lost overrun and destroy everything she holds dear. 

Odriel’s Heirs is a young adult/new adult fantasy novel set in Okarria following on the Dragon Heir, Kaia as she struggles with being a teenager and being one of the chosen ones- Odriel’s Heirs. Controlling fire is fun but having the villagers throw rocks at you as they chase you out of the village is not. I don’t necessarily see the logic in pissing off a person that can fall into a Dragon Rage and explode in a fiery nova but, I guess people in real life have historically used rocks to express anger towards witches so it’s par for course. 

Kaia is a reluctant hero and a bit of a hot head. Her inexperience is understandable – she’s still learning to control her powers and her dad is actively fulfilling the duties as the Dragon Heir. Her job is to train and stay out of trouble, so she’s just… Bored. She has dyslexia, so reading is not a preferred hobby. It just means that outside of training, Kaia doesn’t have anything that she likes to do besides having prank wars with the current Shadow Heir, Klaus.

Klaus has taken over his duties as the Shadow Heir (meaning his parent has died) and is frequently tormenting and pranking Kaia by using his Heir powers of invisibility. He constantly pushes Kaia forward, but we don’t know too much about him since our inner perspective is limited to Kaia. Of the party, we spend the most time with Klaus, Shad (an apprentice trapped as a cat for upsetting the mage he serves) and Kaia’s dog, Gus. 

As this is the first in a new series, the foundation of the world is built rapidly as the characters progress towards the inevitable clash with the necromancer. There is a good balance between the world building and forward momentum. Okarria has depth that is alluded to but will likely be more deeply explored in following books. I appreciated that the introduction of new species felt organic with hybrid names using existing animals for context clues for the reader to understand what the animals were. For example, the ragehound is a sheep dog that is in sync with the emotions of its Dragon Heir owner in order to pull them back from a Dragon Rage. There could have been a deeper explanation at the beginning about the history and creation of ragehounds at the beginning of the novel but, our protagonist already knew that information, so we didn’t get that information dump. We understand immediately that Gus is both a childhood companion and an important training tool for a Dragon Heir until they can master control over their powers and emotions.

Odriel’s Heirs has the right mix of lore, action, and personal growth to make Kaia’s hero’s journey from frightened teenager into the Dragon Heir she was destined to be. I look forward to seeing more of Kaia, and Klaus in their next adventure, as there will always be darkness where there is light.

Thank you to Hayley Chow for reaching out to me to review her debut novel!

4 of 5