Review Tour – AERENDEN SERIES by Kristen Taber, Review of The Child Returns & #giveaway #YA #fantasy

The Child Returns (Aerenden #1) by Kristen Taber
Seventeen-year-old Meaghan has no idea her perfect life has been a lie — until she witnesses her parents’ brutal murders at the hands of red-eyed creatures.
After nearly sharing their fate, she escapes with her best friend, Nick, who tells her the creatures are called Mardróch. They come from another world, and so does she. Now that the Mardróch have found her, she must return to her homeland of Ærenden or face death.
Left with little choice, she follows Nick into a strange world both similar to Earth and drastically different. Vines have the ability to attack. Monkeys freeze their victims with a glare. Men create bombs from thin air. Even Meaghan’s newly discovered empath power turns into a danger she cannot control.
But control becomes the least of her worries once the Mardróch begin targeting her. When Nick confesses he knows the reason they want her, she learns the truth behind the kingdom’s fifteen-year civil war — a long-buried secret that could cost Meaghan her life.

MY REVIEW of book #1 of this fantasy series

Aerenden: The Child Returns (Ærenden, #1)Aerenden: The Child Returns by Kristen Taber

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Four and a half stars from me.
Aerenden: The Child Returns hits the ground running and doesn’t let up for some considerable distance.
Starting with the rescue of a small child from a fire that kills her mother, we then cut to seventeen-year-old Meaghan, plagued by nightmares and confused by her attraction to her parent’s lodger, Nick, even after he spurns her advances.
In short order, Meaghan’s simple, college-oriented life is ripped violently away from her. Her parents are murdered and she’s on the run with Nick, even though she’s not sure she trusts him. In fact, he might be crazy, as he starts babbling about the pair of them being from another world, but then he drags her through a portal to Aerenden, and madness becomes reality.
The dangers keep coming thick and fast, and Nick is infuriating (to me, as well as to Meaghan) in his repeated refusal to explain things. Meaghan must learn to survive in this strange new world, and uncover Nick’s real motives.
This is a beautifully written book, rich in description and Kristen Taber has a great ear for dialogue. The action is relentless, and her main characters develop at a realistic pace as they both come to terms with their roles in life, and with each other. All the characters are well rounded, with multiple weaknesses as well as strengths, and the plot flows naturally from events and decisions both historical and current.
I absolutely loved the idea of the magical gift of being a ‘Writer’, able to produce a book that takes the reader so far in, as to experience things as if they were part of the story. Seems to me that is what we (writers) all strive to do even though we lack the assistance of magical talents, and only the best succeed.
My reasons for not awarding the full five stars, even though I enjoyed this book immensely, were a few little anachronisms that irritated me (even more than Nick’s ability to put off almost every question until a convenient moment in the plot). Top of these were what to me, seemed a slight glitch in the world building. Okay, they have magical powers, but they live in villages which appear to be seriously low-tech, with more than a hint of the medieval, and yet they have such things as showers and syringes, and talk about gene pools. I also don’t understand how any sort of power could be considered a ‘disability’ – by its very nature, unless it has a detrimental effect on the one who possesses it, it must be an ‘ability’.
And why is it that villains always try to utterly destroy everything? Grim weed is a great invention, but if it’s going to choke all vegetation to death, how will the villain and his followers survive once they win the war?
Apart from those little niggles, there is a lot of information to absorb to understand the way in which this world works, but as Meaghan is also learning, it never comes in too big chunks, and it certainly all seems to hang together well by the time we reach the end of this instalment.
So although this is just Book #1 in the series, there is a nice rounding off of this portion of the tale, with an exhilarating climax rather than a cliff-hanger (my pet hate) and I’m looking forward to reading the rest.
Definitely recommended.

I received a copy of this book for review for a blog tour; all thoughts and opinions are my own.

View all my reviews


The Gildonae Alliance (Aerenden #2) by Kristen Taber
Several months after Meaghan’s return to AErenden, the kingdom’s war has taken a turn for the worse. The Mardroch army hunts the new King and Queen, destroying villages in its wake. And Meaghan and Nick, training for battle in a remote section of wilderness, are far from safe. Danger hides in shadows and behind innocent faces. Allies become foes. Each day is a fight to survive. But in the end, only one threat matters. And it’s a threat they never see coming.
The Zeiihbu Master Book Cover
The Zeiihbu Master (Aerenden #3) by Kristen Taber
Separated and on opposite sides of the kingdom, Nick and Meaghan face different pursuits which could change the balance of power in Ærenden forever.
While Nick trains the villagers to be soldiers, Meaghan and a small rescue party venture into Zeiihbu to find Faillen’s young son, before Garon can use the boy’s power to destroy those still fighting against his rule.
Everyone knows Meaghan could be on a suicide mission, but when Nick stumbles upon a secret concealed in one of the southern villages, he realizes that Garon might not be Meaghan’s greatest foe. The enemy most likely to kill her is someone who has also promised to keep her safe.



About the Author:
Born in Bangor, Maine, author Kristen Taber spent her childhood at the feet of an Irish storytelling grandfather, learning to blend fact with fiction and imagination with reality.
She lived within the realm of the tales that captivated her, breathing life into characters
and crafting stories even before she could read.
Those stories have since turned into over a hundred poems, several short tales, and
five manuscripts in both the Young Adult and Adult genres. Currently, Ms. Taber is
completing the five-part Ærenden series from her home office in the suburbs of
Washington D.C.
Connect with the author:

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter Giveaway:

$20 Amazon Gift Card (INT) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you so much for the wonderful review :). I’m so glad you enjoyed the book and I appreciate you taking part in the tour!


    1. It was a pleasure Kristen.
      Now I will have to find a way to schedule the other books into my already bulging TBR list 😀


  2. I’m so glad you enjoyed this! Thank you so much for hosting a tour stop!


    1. Keep ’em coming!


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