Light of Eidon by Karen Hancock
The plot of Light of Eidon by Karen Hancock keeps the reader turning pages, but lacks originality. It’s a typical allegory, with the lines between black and white stark for the reader, but often blurred for Abramm.
Brother Eldrin is ready to make the final journey towards becoming a guardian in the Mataio. But trouble is brewing in his country. Eldrin, formerly prince Abramm, is fifth in line to inherit the Kiriathan throne. Or he was. His father and three older brothers died, leaving Eldrin next in line. But all Eldrin ever wanted to do is guard the Flames, the Light of Eidon that keeps Kiriath safe from the evil that has destroyed the countries to the south. Until he realizes that the Light has failed protected the country as well as Abramm had believed. His faith destroyed and his trust betrayed, Abramm begins a journey of self-discovery that will take him from dank dungeons to the sandy havens.
This book starts out as an allegory with zero subtlety. Eldrin is arrogant and self-righteousness. He thinks in black and white ideas: the Mataio is good and pure (the main religion of Kiriath) and the Terstans are evil and unclean. Eldrin believes that only through faith, meditation, and celibacy can he live in heaven and touch Eidon’s Light. He even says “Eidon is pure righteousness! So unbelievably perfect, so far above mankind, no person could even look upon his face and live. To suggest he would offer his precious Light to anyone who asked for it was preposterous, a violation of all that he was, a disregard for his perfect purity, and the perfect purity of his light.”
Terstans are dirty, disgusting people according to Eldrin. The evilness of their religion shows in their eyes, which grow rheumy with sartosis, and their religion eventually drives them crazy. Trap Meridon, Captain of the Kings Guard, is a Terstan who has yet to show these symptoms. Eldrin is convinced the man will show symptoms soon.
But when a few powerful Guardians betray Eldrin, who ends up sold into slavery, he loses his faith. Forced to spend time with the Terstan Captain Meridon, he begins to realize that things weren’t at all as black and white as they seemed in his years of Mataio study. Maybe every man can hold the Light of Eidon within his flesh.
The book deepens, expanding and growing when Eldrin (who now only claims the name Abramm) begins this struggle of faith. It becomes so much more interesting, and Abramm so much more relatable. Life is about struggle, and when a character questions nothing, struggles with nothing, they hold no interest for the reader. But when they go through a deep moral, religious, or even philosophical struggle, it’s something that everybody can relate with on some level.
Trap Meridon is not relatable. But neither is he arrogant. He acts both as Abramm’s guiding light and best friend through two terrible years, but also as a constant thorn in Abramm’s side as he tries to convince Abramm to accept Eidon’s light and love. Meridon doesn’t push, yell, or get angry at Abramm’s refusal. He remains calm at all times, and is easy to like.
Carissa, however, is neither easy to like nor calm. Abramm’s twin sister whines and complains through the entire book. She refuses to see anybody else’s point of view. She refuses to change. Character’s who don’t change aren’t interesting.
Light of Eidon, the first book in the Legends of the Guardian-King series, is an interesting allegory starring Abramm Kalladorne. The predictable but action-filled plot takes place in a complicated world.