A review by tasharobinson
Six Heirs by Pierre Grimbert


There are some interesting ideas in this fantasy franchise-starter, first of a lengthy French series—primarily, the overplot about a generations-old mystery, where representatives of many countries were summoned by a strange envoy to a remote island, where something mysterious happened, killing some of the representatives and marking the others for life. The story follows some of their descendants, who are trusted with part of the secret of what happened on the island; when assassins start eliminating all the heirs, a few band together for survival. It's a compelling idea, but the execution is stilted and feels like an RPG videogame, complete with a set of characters that amount to fantasy cliches: the ranger, the barbarian, the rogue, the mage, and worst of all, the useless girl who needs rescuing a lot. There's no strong central character, and the POV shifts from paragraph to paragraph in an amateurish way. There are a lot of piled-up adverbs and mid-sentence explanations of how the characters feel about what they're saying: "'We should go left,' she abruptly said jokingly, wondering whether the others thought she knew more than she was saying. She didn't." That kind of thing. Maybe it's the translation, but the language and the storytelling both seem excessively blunt. And the central romance is pretty tedious: There's a naive young guy pining for Rescue Object Girl, but he's too meek to speak up about it, and keeps giving up on her if she looks at him crossly or smiles at someone else. Rescue Object Girl, meanwhile, is a thinly characterized, sheltered complainer who's perpetually angry about another character's sexist stereotypes, but keeps living up to them by responding to them with ineffectual tantrums and pouting. And the ending is so abrupt that it doesn't feel like a cliffhanger, so much as like someone forgot to tack on the final three chapters. Interesting enough while I was reading it and waiting to see how it developed, but by the end, I wondered why I'd stuck with it.