Having read the first book in the series back in December, The Dark Griffin by K. J. Taylor, the publisher promptly sent me the follow up books for review: The Griffin's Flight and The Griffin's War.
The series follows Arenadd and his dark griffin Skade as they escape from captivity and make their way to the North, the homeland of Arenadd's people. The first book saw Arenadd, then called Arren, lose his position in society, become a murderer, lose his life, and regain a semblance of it with the dark griffin. The second book follows them both as Arenadd meets a strange woman, tries to find a cure for his curse, becomes a slave, frees the slaves, and begins his campaign to retake the North and free all his people. The third book sees the war in earnest and it's resolution. Along the way, Arenadd's arch-enemy Erian seeks him in an attempt to avenge the death of his father. Both Arenadd and Erian learn they have been chosen as avatars of their respective gods and must battle each other to determine who controls the North.
Arenadd is literally an anti-hero. To most of the people in the book he's the bad guy, the dark lord, the man without a heart. Only to his own people is he a hero. The author makes us feel for both Arenadd and Erian as the story progresses. We see Erian grow from a child trying to find a place in his father's world, to a tool for his griffin, to young man falling in love and trying to find a way to be worthy of that love, to being the chosen of a god. Arenadd grows from a young man that had seemingly overcome racial stereotyping in his village, to a condemned criminal, to a cursed man seeking revenge, to the chosen of a god, to the leader of a revolution.
While we feel for the main characters, some of the minor characters that we just start to like are killed in battle, others aren't mentioned for awhile and then reappear later at strategic times. Secrets from the main characters' past comes back to haunt them.
And I can't review the books without mentioning the griffins. Haughty, violent, hungry, and demanding, Taylor's griffins demand respect. Without humans, they're just wild, sentient beasts with magic. With humans by their side, they are fearsome creatures of barely contained power bringing status to their humans and death to their enemies. The griffins have their own society and customs, and it serves both the story and the world well.
This is a world with many mysteries barely touched on and many lands worth exploring. I hope K. J. Taylor revisits this world with other stories.
The Fallen Moon trilogy was provided to me by the publisher for the purpose of review.