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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

"Heritage: Book One of the Gairden Chronicles" by David L. Craddock (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

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OVERVIEW: Book One of the Gairden Chronicles Prince Aidan Gairden's life was planned out for him 800 years before he was born. On his sixteenth birthday, he will take up Heritage, the magical sword wielded by his mother and generations of Gairden ancestors before him, and lead the kingdom of Torel into a new golden age of peace and prosperity.

That's how his mother envisions his impending reign. Aidan prefers to see it as decades of sitting in an uncomfortable chair listening to old men bicker over property lines and taxes. If Aidan had his way, he would leave the sword and throne behind for a life free of responsibility.

To Aidan's utter shock, Heritage grants his wish. In front of his parents and the entire kingdom, the sword rejects Aidan, leaving Torel without an heir.

While Aidan struggles to find his place, an ancient evil awakens and provokes a war between Torel and the warrior tribes of the west. Thrust upon a bloody trail of deception and corruption, Aidan is forced to make a desperate choice: lead Torel in a war he does not believe in, or be banished from his home and family forever.

FORMAT: Heritage is the first novel in the Gairden Chronicles. It is a YA fantasy novel that is filled with adventure elements. It stands at 326  pages and was published by Tyche Books Ltd. on July 30, 2014.   

ANALYSIS: Reading a debut author in the fantasy genre, or any genre, is always a hit-or-miss experience. There are authors who hit the ground running with a hit, there are authors with talent that just needs a little 'fine tuning', and there are authors who seem to struggle.

David Craddock, while not completely new to the fantasy world, has released the first book in his YA fantasy series, and he falls within the first category of authors. Heritage is a page-turning, captivating, well-written YA novel that really leaves you wanting more – in a good way.

One of the first things that is obvious right off the bat is that Craddock knows how to build an entire fantasy world without engaging in tedious info dropping. Many times authors will overload readers with lengthy explanations and backstories to help aid in the world building, while others have a 'fly by the seat of your pants' approach where readers learn as they read.

Craddock knows how to create a world that readers can relate to, understand, and feel a part of, without having to boggle down readers or waste time with lengthy explanations. This is vital to the next part –pacing.

Sometimes while reading, I notice that novels are either paced too fast or too slow. I found Heritage to be paced at a just right speed. It had me turning pages and wanting to read further ahead, but I didn't feel rushed.

Last, but not least, is character development. The norm nowadays seems to be that you can't write a good fantasy novel with great world building and character development, and keep it under 400 pages. Craddock shows that this is not the case.

I really felt connected to the characters. It did take a little time to warm up to them, get to know them a little, but by the end I wanted more. I wanted to see what happens next, go through more adventures with them.

Heritage is definitely a wonderful start for not only the series, but Craddock's future at a fantasy writer. The quality of writing and pure talent that is evident will only improve as time goes on. Readers will notice that the influences authors like Terry Brooks, R.A. Salvatore, Robert Jordon, and David Eddings had on Craddock.  
I really look forward to seeing Craddock grow as a writer and hopefully leave a lasting impact on the fantasy genre. I will be awaiting book 2 and consider it a 'must read'. Fans of Brooks, Salvatore, Jordon, and pretty much any other fantasy author will be sure to enjoy this novel. Anyone who is thinking of venturing into fantasy will also enjoy it, as it serves as a great intro to fantasy.

AUTHOR BIO: David L. Craddock lives with his wife and business partner in Ohio. He is the bestselling author of Stay Awhile and Listen: How Two Blizzards Unleashed Diablo and Forged a Video-Game Empire - Book I, and Heritage: Book One of the Gairden Chronicles, an epic fantasy series for young adults. Please follow along with him on his website/blog at


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