I received this book via Author. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.A Lair of Bones by Helen Scheuerer
Series: Curse of the Cyren Queen #1
Published by Alchemy Books on 2021-07-15
Length: 474 pages
Reviewing eARC from Author
Reading Challenges: 2021 New Release Challenge, COYER 2021
A deadly contest. A vaulting ambition. How far will one cyren go to win
Mighty cyrens have ruled the ancient lair of Saddoriel for centuries. A cavernous fortress, a subterranean labyrinth of tunnels and levels, powered by magic and music…
From the moment she was born, Roh, the daughter of an infamous criminal, has been despised by her own kind. Restricted to the Lower Sector and forced to work as a common bone cleaner, she has always believed she belongs above: where lies adventure… and power.
Opportunity arises in the form of the Queen’s Tournament, a treacherous set of trials that could see the victor crowned ruler of the entire lair. Up against the most cunning, dangerous cyrens in all the realms, does Roh stand a chance?
A Lair of Bones is the first gripping book in the dark fantasy quartet, Curse of the Cyren Queen.
From the author of the bestselling fantasy series, The Oremere Chronicles comes this new darkly ambitious tale.
A Lair of Bones by Helen Scheuerer is the first book in a new epic fantasy series about a young cyren, the mystery surrounding her existence, and the cyrens themselves.The story follows Roh, the cyren daughter of an infamous criminal who is raised in the Lower Sector as a bone cleaner. When the queen announces the Queen’s Tournament, Roh jumps on the chance to win the coral crown and become the next cyren ruler, not because she wants the power, but to learn more about her own past and where she came from.
Roh is an interesting character. I struggled at first with whether I liked her or not. Her circumstances are beyond those of the other cyrens. Because of the crimes of her mother, she is relegated to the Lower Sector, trained as a bone cleaner, and must wear a circlet of gold marking her the daughter of a criminal. Slightly bitter and willing to do whatever it takes to better her own situation, Roh cheats her way into the Queen’s Tournament. Her determination and will makes it easy to root for her.
The Queen’s Tournament comes around every fifty years and is a chance to challenge the current ruler for the cyren throne. I was most interested in this. There’s a lot of mythology and history that Helen Scheuerer builds here, and it is woven into the action of the story seamlessly. There’s a twist with this year’s tournament. The contestants are each assigned a human to keep alive til the end. If something happens to their human, then they are disqualified.
The introduction of Odi, Roh’s assigned human, brings into question the morality of the cyren kingdom. What are their plans for the humans? Why do they make their home from their bones? It’s a morally grey area that I could write an entire post on. I love the questions it creates and the interactions between Roh and Odi.
Overall, I liked A Lair of Bones. I highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys high fantasy. Beautifully written with attention to detail, A Lair of Bones is sure to please fantasy fans the world over.