The Griffin’s War by K. J. Taylor

July 19, 2012 Reviews 1 ★★★★

This review contains mild spoilers for The Dark Griffin and The Griffin’s Flight.

A man falls. A monster rises …

The dark griffin Skandar flies in search of his chosen human, while the wild woman Skade goes with him to find her lost love. And a young griffiner believes he can destroy his father’s killer for good. But his plans for bloody vengeance may come full circle …

Huddled half-sane in a cell beneath Malvern, Arenadd Taranisaii must submit to the will of the Night God who has his soul, or be returned to the grave forever.

The Griffin’s War finishes off The Fallen Moon series admirably and delivers an action packed story that explores the darkest sides of human nature. I don’t know why, but I kept looking for themes of redemption throughout this book, as if somehow, Arenadd would find something and cease to become ‘The Dark Lord’. Silly me, I knew all along that The Fallen Moon series is not about a hero in the traditional sense, and I enjoy the themes that K. J. Taylor explores in the trilogy – but I guess old habits die hard.

This book blurs the line between good and evil more than either of its predecessors, and forces the reader to re-consider their preconceptions of morality. Arenadd does some despicable and horrific things, but only because he wants to liberate his entire people from slavery. His enemies – the forces of light who oppose his darkness – are also willing to act similarly, but they justify it by saying that in wartimes such acts are necessary. Taylor thus explores, deftly, the willingness of the so called righteous who suspend their values at the first sign of trouble and can justify victory through any means.

One of the things that I feel detracted from my enjoyment of the book is the large chunks dedicated to Erian. I’m not sure what the passages are meant to convey – aside from his lack of life skills and brain cells to rub together – and I was constantly itching to skip these parts (although I didn’t because I was expecting something awesome to happen). Erian sees a few tantalising things in the cave he finds, but disappointingly, this is not followed up. I have the first book in the follow up trilogy, The Shadow’s Heir, in my possession, and I hope some questions will be answered in this new body of work.

I have to be honest: I do not like Saedrynn. Not only is she pushy and extremely entitled, I was never sure whether she could be trusted and I felt that she would much too readily take up the mantle of power if allowed to. In fact, I found it difficult to like any of the Northern rebels. I think I found them too proud. I understand that’s the whole point – these people have retained their pride, freedom and heritage even though most of their race has been enslaved by Southerners – but at times it got to be too much. When they don’t like Arenadd’s ideas – and remember, he is the only one who has any experience of how Southerners think and behave – they oppose him with a strength I did not expect from a people who almost worship Arenedd as The Dark Lord.

I’m glad I was introduced to the works of K. J. Taylor: not only did I enjoy this book a lot, I will re-iterate that any Fantasy fan will benefit from reading The Fallen Moon series because of the author’s exploration of humanity’s morals and ethics through Arenadd. Plus supporting Aussie authors is awesome!

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One Response to “The Griffin’s War by K. J. Taylor”

  1. Katie

    You’re right: Saeddryn isn’t a very nice person. Arenadd is pretty unkind to her in return, though.

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