Exile (The Caein Legacy #1), by A.J. Calvin

The Book

Series: The Caein Legacy
Pages: 280
Age Group: Adult
Published on 5/24/2023
Publisher: Self-Published
Epic Fantasy
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Andrew grew up in the royal palace of Novania, the eldest son of the queen. He went on to achieve fame and glory as a renowned soldier, and was eventually named commander of the king’s army. The kingdom believed he would be named heir to the throne, but he has long known he is ineligible. The king is not his father.

The truth of Andrew’s lineage is only partially known to the king; the identity of his father is a mystery that even Andrew is unaware of. He knows only that his father was a dragon-mage, and the dragons have fled to another world. Andrew is a skin-changer, but the laws of Novania forbid his very existence. If the king were to learn the truth of what he is, he would face execution.

The laws are equally hostile to humans born with the Mark of the Magi and the ability to wield magic. Andrew’s younger half-brother, Alexander, bears the Mark. The pair keep one another’s secrets into adulthood… Until the king dies unexpectedly and Colin ascends the throne.

When Alexander’s Mark is revealed for all to see, Andrew is faced with a choice: To watch his brother be killed, or reveal his true nature in an effort to save him from the headsman’s axe.  

My Review (4 out of 5 )

Exile is the initial installment in a new epic fantasy series, The Caein Legacy, by A.J. Calvin. A novel that follows the story of Andrew, the eldest son of the queen of Novaria, whose life drastically changes after the king reveals that he's not his son in reality. The truth of his lineage is more complicated, as he's a shape-changer, a secret he must hide as Novarian's laws forbid them.

While Andrew was considered the next heir to Novaria's throne, he was a respected and famed general and commander. After the king's announcement, putting Colin as his next heir, Andrew loses his surname, losing a great part of the consideration people had for him, as he's legally a bastard.
Adding to this complicated situation, Colin's animosity with Andrew only grows, and Andrew is hiding he's a shape-changer, a forbidden creature by Novarian's laws. In this context, Andrew decides to retire far from the capital, and try to live in peace, just keeping the promise made to his mother about trying to ensure the safety of his brothers. Once a forbidden mark is found on his brother's body, he will be forced to show his true form, fleeing and discovering a new world of secrets, especially the ones relevant to his father's origin.

In this epic fantasy, we can see Calvin's strength in how well-developed the world of The Caein Legacy is. A kingdom where magic is forbidden, and from where the dragons fleed due to persecution, but with a long history that influences the story we are reading, and later in the plot, we will get to know the place where the remaining magic still exists, as it's the only place where Andrew can hide.

I found the pace to be a little bit too slow for my taste, as a great part of the book is basically an introduction to what will be a bigger story; it improves significantly in the second half of the book, when the stakes are clearly revealed.

While the focus remains on Andrew's story, the rest of the characters are well-developed, and evolve when the plot advances. The roles are relatively clear, but there is space for some surprises among them, as we can see with Claire.

Exile acts as the introduction to the Caein Legacy series. An epic fantasy story, centered around the characters and how secrets force them to hide their true nature. 

The Author/s

A.J. Calvin

A.J. Calvin

A.J. Calvin is a science fiction/fantasy novelist from Loveland, Colorado. By day, she works as a microbiologist, but in her free time, she writes. She lives with her husband, their cat, and a salt water aquarium.

When she is not working or writing, she enjoys scuba diving, hiking, and playing video games.