It’s tough to bring something interesting to the YA fantasy genre because of the numerous titles already available. But author A.K. Lee seems ready to make a name for herself with her debut novel, The Kaedin Secret, which is book one in the Kaedin Series.
I was provided a copy of The Kaedin Secret for review. The opinions are my own.
While I enjoy reading fantasy books, my enjoyment increases when there’s magic or similar things thrown in. The Kaedin Secret has an eighteen-year-old male protagonist who wants to become a kaedin and control the elements. You can describe the story as a YA fantasy romance that doesn’t shy away from growing dark or talking about politics in the world A.K. Lee has created.
Here’s the official synopsis:
Eighteen-year-old Rilt Arald, firstborn son of the Arald house, is determined to learn how to be a kaedin and wield the elements — even defying his father, Duke Arald, to do so. His coming-of-age journey started out as an adventurous act of rebellion: enrolling as a student at Kaedin Hall to steal some freedom and make friends before he settles in to his duties as the future Duke Arald. Rilt’s adventure as a kaedin student soon turns sinister, thanks to a dead man’s letter. While trying to unravel the mysteries in the dead man’s letter addressed to him, Rilt gets caught up in a forbidden teenage romance that has him questioning who he really is. As Rilt learns more about the shadowy Verashki, he stumbles upon a conspiracy that could very well cost him his life.
One of the things I enjoyed about The Kaedin Secret is how Lee gives two perspectives. We have Kayle who is born in the lowest of the low classes, facing a very tough life. And we have Rilt Arald, the first son of House Arald, who has lived a secure life. Both characters want to become kaedins (think elemental mages) but their journey to Kaedin Hall, where most of the story takes place, has been quite different.
Through her characters, Lee is able to flesh out the world she has created. We get to know about how the class system works in The Kaedin Secret as well as how different classes of people live. These things also related to our world. Everyone has a journey and opening our eyes to various experiences that others have gone through can help us become better people.
The plot itself is entertaining. We see Rilt making friends, growing as a character, learning how to wield the power of water (which I think is also the reason behind the book cover), and forming a connection with Kayle. There’s also a mystery concerning a fire-wielding kaedin whose existence has been erased from historical records.
As the first book in the series, The Kaedin Secret does a good job of setting things up for what is yet to come.
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Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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