Author: Lou Anders
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Series: Thrones & Bones #2
Hardcover, 352 pages
Publication: July 14, 2015 by Crown BFYR
Source: I received a review copy (arc) from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
Karn Korlundsson is a gamer. "Not" a riddle solver. But in order to rescue his best friend, Thianna Frostborn, he will need to travel to the faraway city of Castlebriar (by wyvern), learn how to play a new board game called Charioteers (not a problem), decipher the Riddle of the Horn, and tangle with mysterious elves.
Meet Desstra. She's in training to join the Underhand--the elite agents of the dark elves. When she crosses paths with Karn, she is not all that she appears to be.
Everyone is chasing after the horn of Osius, an ancient artifact with the power to change the world. The lengths to which Karn will go in the name of friendship will be sorely tested. Who knew that solving a riddle could be so deadly?
Nightborn is the second installment in the Thrones & Bones series following Karn Korlundsson, a Norrøngard farmer and lover of board games, especially Thrones and Bones. Readers last left off with Karn and Thianna destroying the Horn of Osius, a magical horn crafted in Thica enabling the user to control all reptilian creatures such as snakes, wyverns and dragons. After the crazy adventure, Karn returned home to help with the family farm, while Thianna traveled east to see the world beyond Ymiria. But it turns out the horn they destroyed wasn’t the only one made, as there are two more out in the world hidden. Just as Karn is getting the hang of bartering he is summoned by Orm to help Thianna, who has gone missing during her quest to find the remaining Horns of Osius. In this latest sequel, there are new foes, unlikely alliances, and more action as readers’ tag-along with Karn on his newest adventure.
In the first book Anders introduced us to Frost Giants, Norrøngardians and the Undead Draugs. In Nightborn, Anders expands on his world building as we travel east towards new territories inhabited by elves, dwarves, gnomes, nomads, and other fantastical creatures that will surely delight and disgust you (ew, rodent people!). The dark elves played a big part in Nightborn, similar to how the frost giants were in the first book. And they happened to be the best part of the story! I was immediately hooked from the first page as Anders drops readers right into the fray as the dark elves are taking their final exam, using their cumulative knowledge and training in stealth, sabotage, combat, and strategy to win a coveted position in the Underhand, a elite organization only opened to the best of the best.
One of the first thing that intrigued me to this series was how the author incorporated a board game into the story. Karn used his knowledge of the game Thrones and Bones to strategize and outfox all his enemies in Frostborn. And once again readers are in for another treat, since Nightborn involves another game called Charioteers, from the lost Gordion Empire and a riddle which if solved, discloses the location of the Horn of Osius. Of the two, I really liked the riddle. It was fun seeing Karn solve each verse taking him a step closer and closer to the horn.
All in all, Nightborn is an excellent addition to the series. I enjoyed it way more than I expected and in my opinion it was just as good, if not better than the first book. Make sure you check out the extra goodies at the end; there’s a instruction for Charioteers, a handy glossary, excerpts for a riddle, song, History of Katernia, empires timelines and maps. I highly recommend Nightborn to everyone and can't wait to read the next book!