Reaping darkness, the Shadow slicked steel with judgment and danced with death…
Sixteen-year-old Aza inherited the power of shadow to rid the land of evil as Odriel’s cold-blooded assassin. With her growing strength, Aza discovers the Shadow Plane—a realm of wraiths where screams haunt the winds, calling to her. Although her father forbids her from entering the dark realm, Aza can’t ignore the beckoning whispers.
When a dangerous new breed of monster attacks, Aza believes the Shadow Plane holds the answers they need to defeat them. With the unwanted help of a snarky cat and a cursed beast, Aza seeks out the monastic Wraith-Called for answers. But the deeper Aza delves into the dark realm, the further she drifts from the world she knows.
As Aza uncovers evils new and old, she must decide if the ends really do justify the means… and how many lives she’s willing to pay.
I received this book for free from the author. All comments and opinions are entirely my own and this review is voluntary.
This story picks up several years after Odriel’s Heirs ends, with the next generation of guardians looking to prove themselves worthy of the gifts they’ve been given. With talk of old foes rising from the ashes, the older guardians are called off to defend their borders. But almost as soon as they leave, another threat arises and the younger guardians are given a chance for adventure. Instead of following her brother’s lead, Aza follows a mysterious voice that calls her name from the Shadow Plane. And while she intends to go alone, a band of companions joins her on her quest against her will. Can the unlikely group find a way to defend Okarria, or will Aza fade on the Shadow Plane in her search for answers? Find out by grabbing your own copy of Idriel’s Children!
“She missed that girl she had been. Back when the shadows were just a fun trick to make Makeo laugh. Now the shadows seemed to be all she was. Just darkness lined with good intentions.”
At first, I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy this sequel. Aza’s inner dialogue was so very similar to Kaia’s and she had the same need to prove herself, so for several chapters it felt like this was just going to be Odriel’s Heirs 2.0 with a few of the characters shuffled around. Aza also made a lot of hasty, selfish, and unwise decisions at the beginning of the story and that, coupled with her overconfident attitude, made me not particularly like her for a while. However, the other characters were diverse enough in spirit and temperament to keep me moving forward. I’m glad I did because the further I got into the book, the more Aza grew on me. I still don’t see her as my favorite character in this story, but that’s okay. I was fully cheering for her by the end, and as I said, the other characters were enjoyable from the start (I’m looking at you, Makeo!).
“‘In the face of pain and fear, a heart will raise walls to protect itself… But that does not mean it’s not a good heart.’”
Contrary to my earlier line of thought, Idriel’s Children did not turn out to be Odriel’s Heirs 2.0, for which I was grateful (Odriel’s Heirs was fantastic and I wanted to dive deeper into the world of Okarria, not have a regurgitation of the same story). While many of the characters from the first book also appeared in this one with varying degrees of importance, this was a new story that tied into the old one smoothly. These characters went on their own adventure, had their own mishaps, and overcame their own obstacles. While Aza’s motivations weren’t always pure, and her tendency to be a little self-absorbed landed her companions in more trouble than they deserved to deal with, the story was intriguing and kept me interested throughout. Also, there was just enough of an element of creepiness (though not necessarily scariness) that I found strangely sucked me in.
“‘It’s okay to grieve the possibility, Aza… Sometimes our grief doesn’t care for the facts… That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t feel it.’”
Where Hayley Reese Chow’s storytelling ability truly shines in this story is in the details she purposefully leaves out. Other authors would’ve been tempted to shift to another character’s POV to tell the readers what was happening in other areas of the story. But Chow stayed focused on Aza’s POV alone, and it brought an element of mystery, intrigue, and I’d even venture to say anxiety, that ultimately strengthened the story. It made me feel connected to Aza and invested in learning the outcome of her tale. As a reader, I cannot help trying to predict how some things will turn out, but Chow had me constantly questioning my predictions with her unexpected twists, which I loved. She kept me on my toes and got me to love her story enough that I gladly look forward to Time’s Orphan, the next installment in the Odriel’s Heirs series!