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Medalon: Book One of the Hythrun Chronicles Hardcover – April 1, 2004

4.1 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Medalon is a country ringed by hostile, heathen nations and beset by internal politics filled with blackmail, backbiting and single-minded power-mongering-at least that's how it seems to R'shiel Tenragen, the wayward 18-year-old daughter of the First Sister of the Blade and the appealing heroine of Australian author Fallon's sparkling high fantasy debut. In Medalon, the Sisterhood has systematically stamped out any trace of religion and the heathenish belief in the gods and in the Harshini, mythical, magical beings who some think bridge the gap between gods and men. But suppose that the Harshini really did exist and that they are living still. Suppose that the gods have given the Harshini a task so big and so difficult that they nearly can't encompass it. Worse yet, suppose that R'shiel, a postulant of the Sisterhood, becomes part of this Herculean task. Fallon ponders all these possibilities and more in this satisfying melodrama, stocked with well-developed characters with clear motivations that carry them through a series of byzantine plots and counterplots, a mini-rebellion and even face-to-face contact with a variety of gods.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The Sisters of the Blade, backed by warriors known as the Defenders, have ruled Medalon for two centuries, forbidding pagan worship or belief in any god. The people of Karien, to the north, are fanatic worshipers of a single god, and to the south, fervent belief in the heathen gods prevails. Eighteen-year-old R'shiel has long fought her coldhearted mother's domination, but her half-brother, Tarja, is a colonel in the Defenders. When their mother becomes First Sister, however, the two defy her machinations and, forced to flee for their lives, get caught up in a rebellion against the Sisterhood. Also part of the mix are the mysterious Harshini, who were assumed to be extinct, and the gods themselves, who readily mix in human affairs as they search for the Demon Child they had created to destroy an evil god. In her first novel, beginning the Hythrun Chronicles, Australian author Fallon conjures a viable, richly detailed world and its disparate societies. Characterizations, including those of the interfering gods, are well realized, and the suspense is palpable throughout. Sally Estes
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Series: The Hythrun Chronicles (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (April 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765309866
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765309860
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,236,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It's not often that a new writer explodes on the scene with book after wonderful book that just takes your breath away. Of course, it helps when the author in question has been writing for a few years in another country and her books are just now coming to North American shores. Such is the case of Jennifer Fallon, who's Second Sons trilogy has just been published in its entirety in North America. Also, the first book of the Hythrun Chronicles has also been published, Medalon. Unfortunately for me, Tor has decided that they don't want to saturate the market and will thus be publishing them once a year. It will be a while before we're caught up. I loved the Second Sons trilogy so much that I had to read Medalon, which is actually the first book that she had written. How does it measure up? Not quite as good as the Second Sons trilogy, but much better than other first novels.
The Sisterhood of the Blade rules Medalon ruthlessly, stamping out any hint of heathen beliefs. With the First Sister having just been assassinated, Joyhinia thinks that she's going to be named head of the church. When that doesn't happen, she works a scheme to make it happen. Her daughter R'Shiel and her son Tarja get caught up in it, and find themselves on the run. They fall in with a rebellion against the Sisterhood, and end up even deeper into a massive change that will befall the world. Brak, a Harshini outcast, brings news that the Harshini, long thought dead, may be coming back. And worse, R'Shiel may be the Demon Child that has been foretold. War may be coming to the world, religious or political, with R'shiel and Tarja caught in the middle.
Fallon has created yet another fascinating world, with the various politics and religions thought out and explained.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Medalon is a place ruled by a group called the sisterhood and the Defenders are the warriors sworn to protect and defend the Sisters from heathen corruption. The sisterhood and their followers believe that those that worship multiple gods are heathens and would love to get rid of all heathen taint.

The Harshini, a race that is believed to be extinct, are beings whom pocess powerful magic; the heathens are the only ones that seem to only believe in the existence of the Harshini, whilst to most they are a myth. There is a legend that says that the last Harshini king had sired a child with a human, the child has become known as the demon child, who was created to annihilate a god named Xaphista, the Incidental God.

R'shiel is the daughter of the First Sister of the Blade (the leader of the sisterhood), Joyhinia. She has become a disappoint to her mother because she shows no remote interest of becoming a Sister or following her orders. R'shiel's half-brother, Tarja is a captain for the Defender cause and a more greater disappointment to their mother. Joyhinia is the type of person that one will love to despise, she only attained the position of the First Sister by upsurping another, Mahina, who was more qualified.

While on duty guarding the northern border, Tarja finds out that his so-called little sister isn't who she was led to be, heritage-wise. Joyhinia has decieved many. Tarja confronts Joyhinia in front of many others and ends up having to flee for his life, along with R'shiel, whom he already disclosed Joyhinia's horrible deceit to. Tarja and R'shiel get caught up in a rebellion against the Sisterhood.

Those of you that enjoy Greek Mythology will enjoy the devine interventions from the heathen Gods in this series.
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Format: Hardcover
Having grown rather tired of the entire fantasy genre and it's archetypical formula I found this first book in a series rather refreshing. You get a great spectrum of perspectives on the multiple sides in the building conflict as opposed to the "good guys" and the "bad guys". Strong characters, great pace, political, religious and racial tensions in good balance help get you past otherwise awkward parts.
What prevented a five star rating is that Fallon does at times slip into formula rather than stay true to her characters. At certain points she dumbs down her characters to get through to a certain plot point. On such example is one of the main characters going through the "but I don't want the responsibility of these powers, I just want things to be normal again." which is completely incongruous with an otherwise strong, perceptive and driven character.
One also wonders how the supporting character Brak can be so incompetent. His capacity to lose his charge and completely miss the obvious time and time again is rather amazing for someone with his supposed lineage and history.
The last criticism is that the USA cover is HORRIBLE. It makes the book look like any other generic, yawn inspiring fantasy epic. If I hadn't been in London and seen the UK cover I would never even have picked up the book.
Overall a great book and I was able to overlook the weaker spots, hoping that the rest of the series grows stronger as it matures.
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Format: Hardcover
The pace of this novel is agreeably brisk, which I imagine is what most people are responding favorably to. It does move along. But the writing is incredibly pedestrian and most of the plot "twists" are telegraphed far in advance. The city in which most of the characters live is called "the Citadel." Medalon's defense force is called "the Defenders." Grudge matches are held in an arena called "the Arena." In the very first sentence, the residents of the Citadel gather to witness a funeral pyre imaginatively called "the Burning." The big god of one of the other nations is "the Overlord."

Speaking of names and telegraphed plot twists, do you suppose that the only Citadel dweller whose name contains an apostrophe might not be from the Citadel (even though her adoptive mother, had she had any brains, would have changed her name to conceal her origin)? Do you suppose this character might be the "demon child" referred to early on in the story? Well, duh.

Place and other names are often English words with suffixes tacked on to make them seem exotic (Medalon, Harshini) or weird spellings of perfectly ordinary names (Davydd, Wilem). Have mercy! A courtesan is a "court'esa," a word supposedly adopted from a foreign (to the Medalonians) language that "just happens" to look like the English word "courtesan" with a letter chopped off and a gratuitous apostrophe inserted. Some of the names are too similar (e.g. Tarja and Trayla -- fortunately the latter is dead as the novel begins and isn't mentioned much after the first 50 pages; there were also two other characters whose names both begin with "M" that I couldn't keep straight).
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