A Smash-Hit Fantasy Sequel Bursting With Action, Adventure, Worldbuilding, Humor, Gaming, and (Most of All) Heart
by Lou Anders
Series: Thrones & Bones (Book 2)
Publication Date: July 14, 2015
Publisher: Crown Books For Young Readers
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Karn Korlundsson is a gamer. Not a riddle solver. But in order to rescue his best friend, Thianna Frostborn, he will need to travel to the faraway city of Castlebriar (by wyvern), learn how to play a new board game called Charioteers (not a problem), decipher the Riddle of the Horn, and tangle with mysterious elves.
Meet Desstra. She’s in training to join the Underhand—the elite agents of the dark elves. When she crosses paths with Karn, she is not all that she appears to be.
Everyone is chasing after the horn of Osius, an ancient artifact with the power to change the world. The lengths to which Karn will go in the name of friendship will be sorely tested. Who knew that solving a riddle could be so deadly?
The novel includes instructions for playing the board game Charioteers. Visit ThronesandBones.com for additional games, maps, character profiles, and more!
With Nightborn, the follow-up to his Thrones & Bones series starter Frostborn, Lou Anders wastes no time bringing new characters and new lands into the mix. Even before revisiting Karn or Thianna, our gaming hero and half frost giantess heroine from book one, Anders presents Desstra, a dark elf from the caverns of Deep Shadow. For her final exam she’s competing as part of a team in a ‘dangerous game’ against a rival team of classmates. The outcome of this contest, which ends two years of training, will determine her future. Only the victorious team will graduate and join an elite secret order called the Underhand. Though the dark elves will succeed or fail as a collective, individual performance will also be evaluated. Trouble is, one of her teammates, Tanthal – much like Thianna’s frost giant bully nemesis Thrudgelmir – puts winning above all else, at any cost – even betrayal. What’s more, like Karn and Thianna, Desstra doesn’t quite fit in with her peers.
Before we learn how Desstra’s exam is scored, Anders sends us straight over to Karn, happily occupied playing his beloved board game Thrones and Bones. Time has passed and Karn has matured – it seems he’s left adventure behind in favor of responsibility. With no time to indulge himself in further matches, he’s off to work on a trade deal. Only someone else, or rather something else, has others plans. A wyvern snatches him up and carries him off to the great dragon Orm. Boy and dragon have a lengthy conversation. Ultimately, Karn, persuaded that Thianna is in danger, sets off on a quest.
Just like Frostborn, Nightborn drops the reader straight into the action. One of the challenges of a series is reminding readers what has already taken place outside the current timeline. Anders handily inserts succinct reminders so naturally into the text that this never becomes a problem. Readers can instead focus on what the author does well – characters, world-building, adventure, humor, action scenes, games, and much more!
Sometimes in a series, a sequel doesn’t hold up to its predecessor. Book two may be a weaker book that serves as a space-holder and bridge for bigger things to come in future series’ installments. Not so with Frostborn. As Karn travels to find Thianna, the fantastic world of the Thrones & Bones series explodes, and, thanks to the gifts of illustrator Justin Gerard and map artist Robert Lazzaretti, becomes even more tangibly real. We are treated to another board game called Charioteers, inspired by the real-life action in the book. Plus, as in all good adventure fiction, this quest involves riddles, cultures at war, and more mythical creatures – this time a manticore! Furthermore, though character development continues for Karn and Thianna, we are treated to some of the same hilarious banter and antics that made us love the pair. The insertion of Desstra into the story serves to keep things all the more interesting, while advancing the existing themes of friendship, teamwork, and trust. In the end, we learn that kindness and compassion are not weaknesses, but strengths.
— Dawn Teresa
5 of 5 Hearts. A Smash-Hit Fantasy Sequel Bursting With Action, Adventure, Worldbuilding, Humor, Gaming, and (Most of All) Heart.
The perfect fantasy series follow-up, Nightborn pushes all the right buttons while breaking the walls of its own world wide open! As the maps of the Thrones & Bones world expand, interest in the series is guaranteed to grow. If you’re hunting for a quality middle-grade adventure series, your search ends here!
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank Random House Children’s Books and NetGalley for allowing me access to the title. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”