J E Henderson’s first book in The Credara Trilogy, Rise of the Kraylen, was a great start to the series. It’s billed as an epic tale of good versus evil and it really lives up to the hype.
The battle is between God and his army of Sitcians, angel warriors, and Lucifer and his army of Kraylens, demonic, former angels. The Kraylens are banished to Earth after Lucifer is beaten and locked up in Hell. Though the Kraylen have leathery skin and burned wings, they have the ability to transform and look like any human. Over thousands of years, they breed with humans to gain strength as they plot their revenge and plan to free Lucifer. Their leader is known as Licronus.
Mankind’s safety depends on a select group of Hamen warriors, people marked by God and trained as human weapons. But the warriors are scattered and in hiding, and it is up to the reluctant hero Agean to unite them and fight against the Kraylen before they find a way to release Lucifer.
The story has very high stakes, and is action-packed. Agean and his fellow warriors are highly trained and can take on any evil being, using specialized weapons that only respond to their touch. Henderson skillfully weaves in Agean’s backstory, a tragic tale of loss that causes him great pain and anger and threatens to ruin his chances of succeeding in his mission to save the world.
It doesn’t help that, in a creative twist, the Kraylen capture the angel of death, forcing humans to suffer through disease and intense injury indefinitely. Anyone with stab wounds or worse must learn to cope with the pain while Agean and his friends fight to regain the balance of good and evil.
Even with all the serious drama and heavy action, Henderson manages to break up with tension with well-timed humor. Quilin, a friend of Agean, is lighthearted and often gets into trouble with Flittorin, the hawk that watches over the Hamen warriors. He flings pebbles at the bird, and in retaliation Flittorin poops on his shoulder. Being a Hamen warrior, Flittorin never misses his mark.
The one detail that didn’t quite make sense to me was the vanquishing of the Kralyen. No one could die while the angel of death was captured, yet Agean and the Hamen warriors were able to vanquish Kraylen, causing them to disintegrate into dust.
But it’s exciting to see Agean battle his inner demons as well as the physical demons. He’s a powerful, out-of-the-ordinary priest able to wield many weapons. And he works hard to protect his friends.
Book one ends with another big twist that opens up the story for book two. Without spoiling anything, I’m excited to see where this is going, and how Agean and his friends deal with the next big hurdle. I look forward to when the next book in the trilogy comes out. And, religious or not, I recommend reading Rise of the Kraylen. It’s a fast-paced, fun read.