Nightborn by Lou AndersNightborn by Lou Anders fantasy book reviews middle gradeNightborn by Lou Anders

Nightborn is the second novel in Lou AndersTHRONES & BONES series for middle graders. I enjoyed the first novel, Frostborn, for its likeable protagonists, sense of adventure, touch of humor, and warm-heartedness. It’d be best to read it before beginning Nightborn.

The beginning of Nightborn finds Karn, our young gaming hero, back on the family farm. But not for long. Soon he is picked up by a wyvern and taken to the dragon in the coliseum who insists that Karn go find and solve a riddle that will lead him to another of those nasty Horns of Osius that the dragon wants to destroy. It appears that Karn’s friend Thianna, the giantess, is already involved and probably captured by enemies. So, off Karn goes to complete the dragon’s quest and to save his friend. Not long after he sets out, he meets a young elf named Desstra who appears to be helping him but is really on her own quest for the horn. She has something to prove and the stakes are high for her.

Together the youngsters will face many challenges. There are riddles, strategy games, fights, betrayals, explosions, chariot races, a touch of torture, and some really freaky animals. And, just so you won’t forget that the target audience is middle graders, even some poop jokes. It’s fast moving and fun, but there’s also an important message that, I hope, kids will take to heart: compassion is not a weakness, friendships are to be treasured, and it’s wonderful to have friends who come from different lands and cultures.

We learn a lot more about the world, its history, its geography, and it cultures in this second installment. We also learn about the horns and begin to understand why Thianna’s mother ended up in the land of the giants. Still, there is much left to learn in the next novel, Skyborn. I’m looking forward to it.

The audio version of Nightborn that I read was produced by Listening Library and is 8.25 hours long. I loved the narration by Fabio Tassone.

Published July 14, 2015. For fans of Lloyd Alexander and Brandon Mull comes Book 2 in the acclaimed Thrones and Bones fantasy-adventure trilogy that began with Frostborn. Karn Korlundsson is a gamer. Not a riddle solver. But in order to rescue his best friend, Thianna Frostborn, he will need to travel to the faraway city of Castlebriar (by wyvern), learn how to play a new board game called Charioteers (not a problem), decipher the Riddle of the Horn, and tangle with mysterious elves. Meet Desstra. She’s in training to join the Underhand—the elite agents of the dark elves. When she crosses paths with Karn, she is not all that she appears to be. Everyone is chasing after the horn of Osius, an ancient artifact with the power to change the world. The lengths to which Karn will go in the name of friendship will be sorely tested. Who knew that solving a riddle could be so deadly? The novel includes instructions for playing the board game Charioteers. Visit for additional games, maps, character profiles, and more!


  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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