If you’re ever in the mood for an easy to devour book, look no further than Isla’s Inheritance.
Australian Urban Fantasy has come along in leapsand bounds over the past five or so years, and Cassandra Page’s debut series Isla’s Inheritance is just another great example. When you think of Canberra, ‘mystical setting’, ‘mythical creatures’ and ‘supernatural events’ aren’t exactly the first things that come to mind. But Ms. Page makes it work; she uses the setting’s normalcy to make the fantasy elements all the more wondrous, shocking and – oftentimes – hilarious.
So who exactly is Isla and what does she inherit?
When we first meet Isla at the beginning of Isla’s Inheritance she’s about to turn eighteen and is in the process of completing her final exams. Her whole life she’s believed her mother died giving birth to her, but of course, this is not the case.
It turns out Isla’s mother very much alive and is one of the aosidhe – the fey nobility – and when Isla turns eighteen, she ‘inherits’ her mother’s fey traits, both her powers and her weaknesses – a fact she learns when her dad (who is human) accidentally/on purpose burns her with an iron ornament.
While Isla attempts to do normal teenager stuff – hang out with her cousins, date her new boyfriend etc. – she also has to grapple with her newfound power, with the guilt of having accidentally turned her cousin Ryan into her aislinge (her own personal oracle) and with the fear of losing her father when he is attacked by elf shot, a fey weapon.
Through all this she is assisted by a new friend, a former fey house-slave named Jack, who becomes fiercely loyal to Isla in spite of the fact that it was the aosidhe who enslaved him and continue to exploit others like him.
I read Isla’s Inheritance in about six hours – I found it to be such an easy, well-written page-turner with wonderful characters I just wanted to know more about. The ending, while not exactly a cliff-hanger, left me wanting more and fortunately Ms. Page was kind enough to provide me with an advance copy of the second installment Isla’s Oath for this review.
Isla’s Oath provided a lot of the answers to the questions left open at the end of the first book, while at the same time posing even more questions and leaving me hanging for book three! In the second book we got to know a whole lot more about Jack, which I loved, as he seemed like such an interesting character in the first book, yet we’d barely even touched the surface of his complexity.
We also got to venture into the world of the duinesidhe (the name given to all the fey people) and meet a whole heap of wonderful creatures, as well as experience the wonders of the sidhe (the moundsbelow the earth where the fey folk live).
I won’t give away any plot spoilers, merely hint that on a personal note I was quite happy with the end of book two. I’m rather looking forward to the third and final book, Melepone’s Daughter– due out in April this year.
This review was first published in the January 2015 issue of The Australia Times Books Magazine, along with an interview with author Cassandra Page. Click here to view the review, interview and the full magazine: http://www.theaustraliatimes.com/magazine/books/issue/301/
I own Isla’s Inheritance; a review copy of Isla’s Oath was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Ash Bye