The Hall of the Mountain King

by Judith Tarr

Reviewed by Coral

Twenty-one years ago, the Princess and heir of the Kingdom of Ianon left her country to begin the 7-year journey required of priests and priestesses of Avaryan. And for twenty-one years, her father has waited for her return, refusing to name his bastard son, Moranden, as heir.

Twenty-one years later and, instead of his daughter, it is her son Mirain, who returns to Ianon. As the bastard son of a priestess forbidden to have children until she takes the throne, Mirain would have been killed at birth, save for the fact his father is said to be the god Avaryan himself. And while some doubt this claim, others see the sun brand burning across his right arm.

That he is his mother's son is enough for the King, and Mirain is quickly named his heir.

But there are many in Ianon who don't want a foreign born king to sit on the throne, who would rather Moranden, a man they know, love and respect.

When Mirain comes to the throne, will he be able to keep it? Or will Ianon be torn apart by civil war between the two princes?

Judith Tarr is another author that's mostly hit and miss for me. As a whole, I tend to prefer her historical based novels a lot more than her fantasy novels. But I actually kind of enjoyed this book.

The ending felt rushed. I think the plot could have been dragged out a bit longer, maybe over a second book. I also didn't particularly like how it ended.

Moranden could have been a better character. At the beginning, there really wasn't a "bad" guy in the battle between Mirain and Moranden. I sympathized with Moranden, who spent his whole life trying to live up to a favored older sister, but never being enough in his father's eyes. Plus his mother was crazy. But instead of a battle between two decent people, Moranden's character kind of falls apart in the middle of the book.

In the end, Moranden's mother was a pretty useless character.

I also didn't like that the goddess Uveryen was pretty clearly labeled as "evil" along with all her followers, who were mostly women.

Still, it was a good book. Better by far then what I was expecting.


Grade: B