Heir of Illaria by Dyan Chick is a fantasy novel about a peasant girl, Wilona, who discovers that she’s the one true heir of the Kingdom of Illaria which is ruled by her nefarious necromancer uncle.
After her grandmother is murdered and she barely manages to escape, she is taken under the wing of a secret group of people who have apparently been watching over her for her entire life.
From there, Wilona launches on a journey of learning to act like a princess & attempting to defeat the Necromancer King.
Here’s the official summary:
In Illaria, there is a fate worse than death.
As long as I can remember, I’ve been taught to fear the Necromancer King. He controls the kingdom of Illaria with dark sorcery and the constant threat of his undead army. I never thought I’d have reason to cross his path. Everything changed the day his guards tried to kill me. That’s when I found out my whole life has been a lie. By joining a resistance group called the White Ravens, I’ve claimed new roles. Princess of Illaria, sorceress in training, and threat to the Necromancer King.
This book, unfortunately, was just not my cup of tea.
There were so many high fantasy tropes that I felt like I’ve read this plot multiple times, especially with my year-long stint of voraciously reading on Wattpad.
Girl is long lost princess. Must defeat evil ruler & become queen.
This isn’t anything new for me. Princess training and maid bonding is becoming very cliché these days, though there’s nothing wrong with clichés.
But when I read novels outside of Wattpad, I expect them to be unique. When I want to read a cheesy, trope filled novel, I’ll go to Wattpad and thousands will be there for me to choose from. But when I’m reading off of Wattpad, I have considerably higher standards. I’m looking for unique novels that aren’t the same recycled plots.
I might have liked this so much more if it was set in a historical Asian setting or a Middle Eastern setting or something besides the classic white-people filled medieval-ish kingdom.
Heir of Illaria is just so…basic.
I could predict the plot after being spun around with a blindfold on.
Wilona is the hidden princess and true heir of the Kingdom of Illaria. Her evil necromancer uncle murdered her family & she was whisked away as a child to be kept safe from his terrifying rule. Now, as a teenager (barely adults are always a prime to start ruling, of course), her grandmother (who isn’t actually her grandmother) is murdered and she is introduced to a secret group that’s been opposing the Necromancer King.
This group wants her to be a princess, and she has to go through ‘princess training’ before she joins the other rebels.
But wait! There’s more.
She’s also a sorcerer with rare powers. (Gasp!)
This is the type of medieval high fantasy plot structure that has been seen time and time again.
I mean, the novel starts with Wilona picking berries, which is almost as bad as using picking herbs to start a novel (see almost every post about starting novels i.e. this one).
I was hoping the berries would be special or significant, but she was just out picking berries…because she wanted to?
The tropes and clichés in this novel just did not cut it for me. I had a pretty hard time getting through this because it was boring for me to read something where I could guess everything that would happen.
Because of this, I had a really hard time connecting with the plot line. I think the pacing was decent and followed this plot structure, but in my specific case, neither appealed to me.
And the main female protagonist, Wilona, was in general very hard to connect to.
She was barely flawed. A quick learner at archery, sorcery, and how to be a princess was all attributed to her having “royal blood.” In my mind, she wasn’t very special. Her narrative wasn’t entertaining, but she wasn’t annoying, although a lot of the novel was her inner narrative about how she didn’t want to rule.
Wilona was very bland to me as a typical perfect peasant-to-princess.
The romance between her and Ashton was very insta-love as well. In the beginning, she despises him, but somehow within around 2 chapters, they suddenly like each other & are kissing.
I would have preferred the novel to center around Saffron, her guard who is in love with her long, lost brother, or Max, her long lost brother.
Their dynamic was much more interesting and the anti-hero plot line was something I could go for.
I think some people could definitely enjoy this novel if they loved reading this plot structure. But I am just not one of those people.
This book was unfortunately not for me, but that doesn’t mean it’s not right for you! If medieval high fantasy is something that appeals to you, I would wholeheartedly encourage you to read this.
Have you read Heir of Illaria? What did you think? Feel free to drop a comment below!
Thank you to Illaria Publishing & Netgalley for providing me with a digital review copy of Heir of Illaria!
Note: In order to accommodate all the reviews I have, I’ll be adding another day to my posting schedule: Saturdays.
Tuesday: Cover Geek, Thursday: Miscellaneous, Saturday & Sunday: Reviews