Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Dark Griffin Dark Griffin
by K. J. Taylor
Harper Collins

Supplied for review by Harper Collins New Zealand

Reviewed By: Katie Boyle

In Cymria, griffiners (humans chosen by griffins to be their companions) are at the apex of society. Everyone calls them sir, they have access to respected jobs, they have a relatively easy life.

Arren Cardockson was born in Cymria, but is from an ethnic group that was forcibly enslaved by the Cymrians in the recent past and released from slavery in the more recent past. He became a griffiner by chance, being in the right place at the right time, and considers himself Cymrian. However, through a betrayal his griffin is killed and he is blamed for it, precipitating a series of events that take him to a very dark place. As this is the first book of (presumably) a trilogy, at the end of the book nothing is resolved and there are hints of worse things to come.

This is a classic antihero story, with a main character that I found impossible to like. In, I think, attempting to make the unlikable likable, the author spent the first chapter relating information that was completely unnecessary to the story. The anti-slavery and anti-racist messages come through thick and heavy, and I found them to occasionally be overwhelming. Overall, though, the writing style is good and events proceed naturally.

Given that I dislike antihero stories intensely (I’ve never managed to get through Thomas Covenant, for instance), I won’t be reading more books in this series. However, if you don’t mind reading about people you don’t like I expect you will find this an enjoyable read.

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