Heir of Illaria – Dyan Chick (Review) *Blew Me Away*

Title: Heir of Illaria (Illaria #1)
Author: Dyan Chick
Publisher: Illaria Publishing, 2017 (Jan 23)
Genre: YA Fantasy

**I received a copy of the ARC free from the author in exchange for an honest review**

This review can be found on my BlogTeacherofYA’s Tumblr, or my Goodreads page

My Review:


First things first….HOW BEAUTIFUL IS THIS COVER?? I’m in love! 😍😍😍

And I’m not surprised that this book called to me….this cover shouts, “Look at me! Read me!”

So I did.

And it was good. So good. 

But that doesn’t tell you much, does it? 

Wilona lives a pretty normal life as a peasant. She lives with her grandmother and does embroidery to help make money. One day in the woods picking berries, however, it all changes. The King’s Guards find her and later ambush her in her home. They try to pull her from the home, but a mysterious stranger named Saffron comes in and whisks her away in the nick of time.

Wilona’s grandmother isn’t so lucky. Wilona isn’t sure if she’s dead, but according to Saffron, the King and his army of Necromancers are after her. Why? 

Because Wilona is a princess.

What I imagine Wilona looks like in Queenish glory!

With help from the White Ravens, Wilona has been protected all her life. She is meant to help the Ravens remove the evil king and restore Illaria to a peaceful land. When Wilona meets a key person in the quest for the throne, she is told she also comes from a long line of Sorcerers. Powerful Sorcerers. 
That’s what Sorcerers wear, right?

As the Ravens hide Wilona from the king, Wilona gets in touch with the magic inside her. Apparently, Wilona is a pretty powerful Sorcereress. When she receives help from Ashton, a strong Apprentice and a master of fire magic, she realizes that the magic inside her might be stronger than any other Sorcerer. She wants to help bring down the king. 

But the king is a Necromancer…and he has someone very important to Wilona. 

And he wants Wilona…dead or alive.

This is my vision of a Necromancer King

I will wait to fangirl until after the rundown.

Is It Classroom-Appropriate?

Yes, this is definitely a good YA novel. We have a young girl, orphaned (I know it’s a trope but it happens), and we read her story from the first person perspective, which is the most personal perspective one can read. She goes through some confidence boosting as she tires of being used as a pawn….there’s some serious girl power in this book. Though I cannot find “academic” value in it, per se, I can find merit in the novel. I think this would be a great book to recommend or allow as free reading. It would also make a nice edition to a classroom library.

With that being said, there’s more to the series, so it is hard to assess when this is book one. It does end on a bit of a cliffhanger. The cliffhanger, though, doesn’t leave he book in an awkward spot: it is a natural resting place which helps when using a series book independently. (Kind of like how Harry Potter ends in the first book: there’s more but you can stop and not feel “unfulfilled.”)

Age Range:

Since this is an independent title, it will not be on Lexile. So I have to use my best judgement. There are some swoon-worthy moments, but nothing inappropriate. There’s no swearing, which is also nice. I could comfortably recommend this book to ages 13 and up. I think younger fantasy readers will love connecting to Wilona and her struggles, fears, and triumphs.

Before the End Result, I want to introduce you to Dyan Chick, the brains behind Heir of Illaria. I am always thrilled (especially when I love a book), to include some info from the author. But Q&A is even better, right?

Dyan Chick in all her glory!

1. What’s your fave genre to read in your spare time? 

  • My favorite genre is definitely YA fantasy. (YES!) I’m also drawn to historical fiction set in Renaissance or Medieval times. 

2. What’s the strangest/worst job you had before you started writing?

  • I’ve had pretty typical jobs: waitress, bartender, nanny, retail stores. Probably the worst job was the week I spent working at a bar that had off-track betting. Smoking was still allowed so the whole building was a cloud of yuck and it was full of older men who didn’t treat the waitresses very well. I spent a lot of time hiding in the bathroom before I got the courage to quit. It’s the shortest job I’ve ever had. 

3. Is this your first book baby? 

  • This is my first book baby! The original idea was conceived in 2011 and I wasn’t brave enough to finally finish it until 2016. 

4. What are you working on next? 

  • A prequel novella is out now on Instafreebie and will be on Amazon on February 22nd. Currently, I’m finishing up books 2 and 3 in the Illaria series. I also have two projects that are in the outline stages. One is based on a Greek Myth and one is based on a classic fairy tale. 

*Here’s the linkie to the prequel if you want to taste Heir of Illaria. I haven’t read it yet, but I can’t imagine that being bad when this was so good: Tales of Illaria: Max and Saffron

5. If you had to take only one book with you on a desert island…would you just end it all? Just kidding…what would you bring and why?

  • Oh man, only one? Could it be a box set? I don’t think I’d ever get tired of The Princess Bride. (I like her more now!)

6. Do you have any favorite authors or people who inspired you to write? 

  • So many favorite authors! J.K. Rowling, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein…lots of others. I’m also very inspired by movies. Star Wars is a big influence for me. I grew up on those movies and a lot of classic SciFi. My parents took us out of school to see new Star Trek movies and the Batman movies that came out in the 90s. Having geek parents is a big plus. 

7. Where did you come up with the idea of Heir of Illaria? Do you identify with a specific character? Do you have a favorite? 

  • The idea came from a dream about siblings who were in hiding and didn’t know they were the rightful heirs to the throne. It evolved from there. I identify with different parts of each main character. They have traits that I have or traits that I wished I had. I’ve always been drawn to the idea of standing up for what is right so most of the stories I want to write are about somebody brave enough to fight to change their world. My favorite character to write lately has been my bad-guys. It’s fun to get inside their heads. 

A thank you to Dyan for letting me ask her inane questions and her actually answering them! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

End Result:

You know I’ve been practically foaming at the mouth for this part, right? You could probably tell by the title of this review that it wasn’t an ordinary one.

This. Book. Blew. Me. Away.

I can easily say it surpasses Ever the Hunted, and it almost rivals Frostblood for me. And I loved Frostblood. But this book is magical, easy to read, and quick to get sucked into, as I quickly learned myself. I keep reaching for my Kindle to continue and I don’t have book two yet. Luckily it’s in its final stages and I’ll have it soon. Dyan did give me a prequel Novella and until I have the next book, it will have to suffice. 

The only way I can demonstrate my feelings accurately is in gif form:


I give Heir of Illaria β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…. If I could give more, I would. I’m in love. So to show my point even more…


Now, let me tell you: you need this book if you love YA Fantasy. I’m not trying to overhype…but I could see this on the shelf with the likes of Frostblood or The Kiss of Deception series. That’s saying a lot. 

So I hope I made my point.

Happy Reading, y’all!

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112 thoughts on “Heir of Illaria – Dyan Chick (Review) *Blew Me Away*

    1. I know that pain!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
      You should request an ARC: Dyan is really nice and she’s on Twitter too! Hopefully she’ll see all this interest and be willing to give some more review copies…though fortunately it is only $2.99 on Amazon, so not too bad.
      I really want a physical copy of this though. I’d love to own it!
      Glad you want to read it and I hope when you do, you let me know what you think!! 😊😘

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much and I’m glad you liked it!!
      It’s an excellent book and if you read it, you’ll have to tell me what you think cause I’m dying to know if others will love it as much as I do!
      Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see more of you! 😊😊😊

      Like

  1. So this is the book you were alluding to last night! It’s looks really good! If you say it’s super good, now I wanna read it! I’m not a big fantasy fan, but if it looks good, then I might pick it up! I wish I could get an ARC but I’m backed up with so many right now! πŸ˜… Could I like get one now and read it in April? πŸ˜‰ (P.S. Loved your review! It was so fun and cute to read!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, if I was giving them out I would give you one right now. But I don’t have them, lol. But Dyan is on Twitter and I think she’d love more reviews…luckily it’s only $2.99 on Amazon. But I will let Dyan know that a lot of people are interested in reviewing this book!
      I am not a fan of certain genres but I’m reviewing more contemporary now to branch out a bit…I also agreed to a romance bc the author is in my hometown! I hope you like it even if you don’t regularly read fantasy. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll definitely ask her! Thanks! 😊
        I usually read whatever is sent to me, like I have review copies of YA romance, poetry, women’s fiction, YA thriller, dystopian, YA steampunk, etc. all lined up on my TBR list… and I don’t read some of those genres frequently! But it’s definitely good to branch out to have a taste of everything! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I like that broad taste in genres!!
      I think it is great you’re open to reading so many different types!!
      I love the idea of a TBR list…I have been trying to schedule my books to be finished and reviewed by certain dates, but of course I have already fallen behind! I’m always behind!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That would be fab! I love it when books do that!
        She did leave a form for a free copy if you don’t want to spend any money…right in the comments if you’re interested. (She’s super nice!)
        If you do read it, I want to know what you think….and if it’s just me! πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I know the feeling!! I’m going to do that feature where people go “Down the TBR hole” and remove some of their old books from the TBR: I have books on there that I know I’ll never read bc I was into a totally diff genre back then!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think on this one it is done well.
      Oh, I can’t stand third omniscient. Third limited is fine with me, but it’s hard for me when I’m jumping in so many people’s heads. My fave is first though bc I like to feel like I’m in the character’s head. But different strokes, right! πŸ˜‰

      Like

      1. I don’t think jumping into all the characters’ heads is a necessary requirement for the style, though. It usually just means that you can trust what the narrator is saying the other characters may be thinking or feeling. It doesn’t mean you have to have perspective changes, which I tend to dislike.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I’ve only seen that once. It was effective for the story but I think because it came across as experimental. If everyone started doing that, I’m not convinced it would be equally successful for them.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I agree. Do you remember those Choose Your Own Adventure stories that were popular when we were kids? That was the only second person perspective that I’ve read, but it was so fun and I loved it!

      Like

      1. I always thought they were intriguing, but I also always died a gruesome death and I found that offputting. ;b I think there’s a Choose-Your-Own Adventure movie coming out this year, but I’m not sure how that works.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. I would see that I would die and I cheated and was like, “I choose go the other way! Back back back!” πŸ˜‚
      I think that would be an interesting movie. I know they did a choose your own adventure Romeo and Juliet book and I am dying to read that!

      Like

    1. I had to! I didn’t want anyone to pass on this review bc it was a title they weren’t familiar with…THAT would have killed me. This book deserves some serious recognition! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
      I’m glad it worked! Thanks for checking it out even though I have been majorly lame with blog-hopping…but I’m trying! 😊 I love that you always stop by bc you make me smile!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You always read books with the prettiest covers, Teach! πŸ™‚

    I’m thinking when I’ve had my fill of grim and brutal adult fantasy I shall check this one out.. I loved how much you loved this book, and the cover is really pretty… plus Necromancers for the win! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It has a bit of a Snow White vibe going for me for sure.. being forced away and destined to save the kingdom. And touches also reminded me of Sleeping Beauty minus the sleep.. with the fact she lived off with her grandmother and the magic elements. A few came to mind πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree! Love the girl power!
      I know you would like this one…I also know you have a ton of books to read like me! But this one did blow me away. It’s up there with the big publisher books. Apparently she queried and did get results but was antsy to publish. And I don’t blame her. She’s got a winner here!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so happy! I am thrilled to share Dyan’s book with everyone. I’m so glad she reached out to me or else I may never have heard of it!
      I want to know if you read it: it makes it hard when it is an independent book, knowing if it’s just you or the book really is as good as you thought.
      I’m so happy! 😊😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, thank you Alyssa! I appreciate you stopping by to check it out! 😊
      I’m a big fan of the underdog books…the ones just as good (if not better) than the hyped books. I hope you check it out sometime!
      Good to see you here: don’t be a stranger! 😊😘

      Like

  3. Pingback: Book Tag Tuesday | 2016 Year in Review – The Uncharted Word

  4. I’m so interested in the whole necromancer and sorcerer aspects! I remember we actually talked about necromancy in the comments for another review you did for a book that talked about it. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
    But, yeah, since I love fantasy and you have officially made me intrigued by this I’ll definitely be adding it to my TBR. Great review as always, Stephanie!! πŸ˜ŠπŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, love! You always make me feel like I made my feelings clear on the page!
      I do hope you check this one out: I find lately that some of these lesser-known authors take more risks and the material is original.
      Necromancy and Sorcery is always a plus in my book! The other one was good…but this one was GREAT!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome!! 😁
        I need to start checking out some lesser-known authors. Might find some great hidden gems fantasy wise since I’ve been on a big fantasy kick. I’ll definitely have to make time so this one at some point this year if I can! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Christy Luis

    Wow, high praise indeed! I guess I will need to try the novella at least! I rarely buy books from authors I’ve never read before, but if I enjoy the novella first, then I’ll understand you enthusiasm πŸ˜€

    Like

  6. Pingback: Book Review: Heir of Illaria by Dyan Chick – The Book Heathen

  7. Excellent review and interview questions Stephanie! I do have cover love for this book haha.. (I have no luck with authors asking me for reviews, a recent book with the cover that immediately terrifies me. I don’t need to read to have nightmares. I can have nightmares just looking at the cover.. lol) Anyway.. a princess not knowing she’s a princess is cool and I love rescues at the nick of time.. makes the read more exciting. I guess her grandma knows she’s a princess but want to protect her right?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This book sounds right up my alley! I love books with premises like this and the characters and concept seem really promising. It’s so cool that the book was conceived from a dream as well! Excellent review, Steph! I’m really glad you enjoyed this one! And yes, that cover is to die for πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you do get to read it…totally under the radar and needs to be read! By everyone! I wish I could do a giveaway of this book to spread the love around.
      I’m hoping I get my tax return soon, bc then I’m doing some giveaways to give back to all my lovely followers and blogger bunnies!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Awesome!! I’ve been seeing some other reviews of the book in the blogosphere and it makes me so happy because this is just one of those books where you clamor for more!
      Should be two weeks I think when we do the giveaway…but I know you always visit so I know I’ll see you there!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: TeacherofYA’s Very First GIVEAWAY! (::cheers::) – TeacherofYA's Book Blog

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