Abendau’s Heir is author Jo Zebedee’s debut novel. And I’d like to put it out there before you get any further in this review: this was an excellent book. It may be her first release, but Zebedee proves that she can easily go toe-to-toe with many of the pros out there today.
A powerful empress who controls multiple planets, and holds sway over most of the major families is seeking an heir to take her place. She finds a mate who has powers like her own in order to assure that the offspring are granted the same abilities as the parents. But she has love for neither the father or the children. In her eyes both are just a means to an end. Their father is the opposite. Unlike the empress, he loves his children dearly and escapes with them to return to the major resistance to the Empire, a group called the Banned. When he does return, he and the twins are turned away since the Banned, at the time, would be no match for the empresses’ forces.
Abendau’s Heir spans over the course of a few decades, and there is a point where the male twin, Kare, has nowhere else to go and returns to the Banned. As the years have passed, the group has become stronger, and their main base is more than sufficient to withstand attacks from the Empire. But what they see in Kare is also a tool and an opportunity. They plan to use him, and groom him into the next emperor, but an emperor under their control. Kare is hard not to love, and soon the military and the politicians who intended to take advantage of him learn this has well. Over the years he wins the hearts, trust, and loyalty of the Banned. Oh, and his psyche abilities are strong as hell, too.
The story is very character driven, and I found myself drawn to all of them. Lichio, the youngest of siblings who excel in the military and politics, and is forced into the former. Silom, the loyal cousin who is more like a brother. And Sonly, who at first intends to use Kare to further strengthen the Banned but falls in love with him.
Abendau’s Heir has exactly what I was looking for: well developed characters, shocking plot twists, and some great action. Last but not least, there were some heartbreaking moments. Literally, at one point, I messaged the author and said: You broke my heart. I can’t imagine that this is the last of the story. Mostly because it’s called the Inheritance Trilogy. I look forward to Zebedee’s next release. Do yourself a favor, pick up this book and give it a read.