The Inheritance series by A.K. Faulkner is an urban fantasy series set in San Diego. I try to read widely, and that leads to all kind of nooks and crannies, like this self-published corner of the fantasy scene. So, let’s have a look.
When I was younger, I used to scour the Fantasy and Science Fiction section of the bookstore for new things to read. But bookstores vanished or shrank, and now I usually only see the same books in the stores I visit. And, well, I’ve read Sanderson, Jordan, and my opinions on a Song of Ice and Fire are no secret. Conventions can also be a source of new books, but I don’t visit those often. Finally, my house is overflowing with physical books, already.
These days, I try to be a part of the writing community through social media. That also gives me a new source of books to read, preferably digital ones. I ran into A.K. Faulkner online, and so I started reading the Inheritance Series.
And, just to be clear, don’t confuse this series with the Inheritance Cycle, by Christopher Paolini.
What’re they about?
The inheritance series consists of two ‘seasons’ of book, the first one five books, and the second one unfinished at four. They tell the story of two men with supernatural abilities: Laurence Riley and Quentin d’Arcy.
Laurence is a florist living in San Diego. He’s a recovering heroin addict, although ‘recovering’ is not really the best description at the outset. He himself starts the series thinking it’s only a matter of time until he slides back into drug use. Oh, and did I mention Laurence has visions of the future and can make plants grow? That has something to do with his family and their pagan ways. He wrestles with his heritage, drugs, and his proclivity for toxic relationships doesn’t help. His mother, who runs a flower shop tries to give him a structure to hang on to by making him work regular hours, so far with little success.
Quentin is British nobility. He was born into wealth, but also into a troubled family. His mind shies away from the details, but there are horrible things in his past. There are holes in his memories that cover accidents which scarred every part of his body. Then his mother died just after he reached adulthood and he fled Britain after the funeral was hit by a freak storm. Quentin’s been fleeing ever since, praying his father won’t find him his piano in tow. And recently, he fled to San Diego.
In the first book, Laurence and Quentin meet. This is around the same time that Laurence attracts the attention of a supernatural being called the Green Man. The results are… traumatizing.
So, above I wrote ‘urban fantasy’, but technically it’s ‘queer urban fantasy’. You can guess where the ‘queer’ comes from, but if not, I’ll not ruin the surprise. ‘Queer urban fantasy’ is Amelia Faulkner’s term, by the way, lest you think I’m trying to pigeon hole this series.
The series has common elements of urban fantasy: it’s a contemporary tale, with a dose of supernatural and magic, some horror, and a smattering of mystery, topped off by romance and sex. And that’s great. That’s what I love about urban fantasy. Also, these kind of books are not Lord-of-the-Rings type tomes, but manageable installments. That alone make me love this genre, for the same reason I love episodic TV shows.
And yeah, this series is for adults. Drug abuse, sex, and torture are just some of the themes that crawl across the pages.
Like I wrote above, I love urban fantasy, and the Inheritance series delivers admirably on that front.
That said, the series isn’t perfect. Sections of the first two books felt a bit slow-paced. Not that they were boring, but I felt myself thinking ’get on with it’.
On the flip side, the fifth book ‘Page of Tricks’, the first season’s finale, is awesome.
Many fantasy series sweep the traumatizing consequences of their story lines under the rug. You were tortured by a dragon and lost your friends and some limbs? Well, here’s a treasure and a love interest for your happy ending, and now its all better! The Inheritance doesn’t do that. It revolves around the past and present trauma that the protagonists suffered. And that’s a powerful story to tell.
Stories have a tendency to focus on protagonists overcoming trauma and addiction, while in reality those things are never ‘overcome’ as much as they become ‘manageable’. The Inheritance series really gets this across, and the story is stronger for it.
So, if you like urban fantasy, and don’t mind it getting a bit dark, this is a series for you. And I personally can’t wait for the season two finale.