By Sara Douglass...In a world of all kinds of incest, we follow our protagonists on an inspiring, at times horrifying, and at times depressingly morally gray adventure. In this case, adventure means everyone had a crappy as hell day. Our first protagonist is Axis SunSoar, who is a member of a military order called the Axe Wielders, which is a part of a religion called the Way of the Plow. The leaders of such, the Brothers of the Seneschal believe that The Forbidden who live in the north are evil, nasty monsters, The Heartless at their finest. There is even a recorded history showing the tyranny and evil of the Forbidden. After a glorious revolution, the Seneschal overthrew their dark masters and sent them into dark forests and mountains...Ahem, and all of that little story was a lie.The Forbidden are really decent people, but one group of them, the Icarii, have wings, and the Avar have horns. They have magic music. And that glorious revolution was a Moral Event Horizon crossing for the Seneschal, who chopped down whole forests of habitats for the Avar and all 'round every human in those "glorious" wars of the axe were bastards.Nowadays, Axis is slowly learning his secret past, plus the fact that he is actually a "Forbidden" himself, which shakes his faith irreversibly. After assuming leadership of his new people, he has to fight his evil half-brother Borneheld, and uncover mysteries such as about WolfStar, a heretic Icarii combo platter of the Magnificent Bastard, Complete Monster and Mad Scientist tropes. And, of course, deal with the Big Bad, another evil half-brother. This one is called Gorgrael, and he has an absolutely lovely prophecy to go with him.Also included is an evil baby named DragonStar, who grows up to be completely awesome, Caelum, the "Abel" to DragonStar's "Cain", who grows up to be an absolutely loathsome Smug Snake who bangs his sister and arranges her murder and then clumsily throws it on Drago.Originally from Australia, where these were two separate book trilogies. In America TOR merged them into a six book saga.
Abusive Parents: Axis and Azhure are this trope to Drago / Dragonstar until the events of Crusader.
Though not as bad, they weren't exactly saints towards their daughters RiverStar and Zenith, either, and might be part of the reason the former was such an unpleasant person growing up (knowing your parents will never look at you with the same favour as their firstborn from infancy can't be pleasant to deal with). Not to mention being fine and dandy with Niah taking over Zenith's body.And they spoiled Caelum rotten to the point that he became incorrigibly arrogant.
Luckily they eventually realized that they screwed up big time, even if it was too late to do anything about it.
Action Survivor: SpikeFeather - he's no Enchanter and a mere Mauve Shirt in the grand scheme of things, but he's one of the few named characters to survive through all six books even as the shit piles up.
Aerith and Bob: There's Axis, Gilbert, Judith, Jayme, and Jack ... and also Azhure, Rivkah, Faraday, Borneheld, and any of the Icarii names.
The more unusually-named people tend to be nobility or of a different race, however.
The Time Keepers had a really impressive one, given that they were a little Sealed Evil in a Can at the time. They used some dreams to turn brother against brother, making one scared of the other, the other was made to loathe and hunt his brother in a dream, and this succeeded: Drago went on through, and they show him compassion... its fake. They use his magic to jump through the universe until they reach Tecendor. They go on through, screwing over Drago in the process, thus eliminating one of the few things that could have stood in the way of resurrecting the Big Bad.
Bears Are Bad News: For Qeteb that is, who gets the most humiliating death of the series: eaten by a bear named Love.
Not to mention Urbeth and her daughters. They're some nasty pieces of work if you're on their bad side.
Because Destiny Says So: This is in both trilogies but it's unclear how much of it is destiny and how much is manipulation in the first trilogy.
Bittersweet Ending: The Timekeeper Demons are defeated and erased from the universe, but Tencendor is destroyed and everyone dies. On the bright side, eternity in a afterlife of everlasting happiness can't be too bad.
Blessed with Suck: So you're born into the SunSoar family? Congratulations, due to the father of your race cursing your ancestor in exchange for giving the Icarii the gift of flight, you can't find everlasting happiness with anyone outside of your family. And since the Icarii don't have a great birthrate, you're unlikely to have anyone for a very long time, if at all.
You could be with someone outside of your family, but it will never last.
Blood Knight: Axis is this in a way. While he's not itching for a fight, he seems to be happiest in a fight or when he's actually doing something, due to being a man of action.
Brother-Sister Incest: Caelum and RiverStar. Incest is actually a curse of the SunSoar family in general, but it's normally at least a few relatives removed (apparently cousin/cousin and grandparent/grandchild pairings are common.
It is stated that parent/child and sibling/sibling relationships are forbidden though, everything else is fair game so long as both members of the relationship consent.
Brought Down to Normal: The Star Gods and the Icarii Enchanters all lose their powers due to the Timekeeper Demons.
Axis has two Cains to his Abel, both half-brothers at that - Borneheld on his mother's side, and Gorgrael on his fathers. His mother later has another son with a different father - Zared, with whom he's on good terms generally speaking, but who sometimes makes Axis himself look like a Cain due to his Jerkassery, something he gets called out for multiple times.
Calling The Old Woman Out: Zenith calls out Azhure for her and Axis's Parental Favoritism, recalling how they pampered Caellum and left not only Drago, but herself and RiverStar feeling neglected. Azhure takes it and admits fault.
Heel-Face Turn: Raspu, one of the Timekeeper Demons, turns when he is challenged to act as a butler of a household for a period of time as part of the conflict between the Demons and the defenders of Tencendor. He cracks under the sheer weight of the responsibility, begs for another chance, and basically ends up becoming the doorman of heaven.
It's All About Me: This is Isfrael's modius operandi from the end of Pilgrim until his death in Crusader.
Niah in Sinner - because her lover WolfStar had told her that though she would die For The Greater Good, but that he would bring her back to life, she was perfectly content thereafter to try and hijack her own granddaughter's body for this second chance, justifying it to herself (and others) by claiming that Zenith was only born for this purpose and wasn't a real person (that Azhure and Axis agree to let her do this repulses StarDrifter). This changes in Crusader. As Rox leaves the body in order to inhabit the child she is birthing, she awakens and - to save Leah and redeem herself - kills Rox by impaling her womb with a knife, and as she bleeds out she asks Leah to tell Zenith she's sorry for what she put her through (unaware that her granddaughter is dead). When she reaches the afterlife she is greeted by Zenith herself, who accepts her remorse and forgives her.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Axis is mostly this. Azhure describes the entire Icarii race as this, stating that while at heart they can be good people, they're also really arrogant and are horrible at friendship.
One could argue that WolfStar is this, despite the fact that he's a manipulative ass and all of the horrific stuff he's done and all of the death he's responsible for during the series, he does have a heart and seems to genuinely love his daughter Azhure and grandson Caelum and did everything he could to save Tencendor.
Caelum can also count. When interacting with Zenith or someone he likes, he's mostly polite and reasonable. But put him in the same room as Drago or Zared at the end of Sinner and he'll turn into a massive prick without hesitation. He even killed the sister he was sleeping with because she claimed to be pregnant and was going to blackmail him.
Isfrael is definitely a jerkass. He spends most of the second trilogy being a selfish power-obsessed ass who embodies the worst of the Avar and ends up causing heaps of problems throughout the trilogy because of his ego.
Karmic Death: Isfrael betrays the protagonists in Crusader to Qeteb and the demons and reveals the existance of the Sacred Groves to them. He's killed by Qeteb once he invades the Sacred Groves.
WolfStar killed 212 Icarii Enchanter children (Including his niece) as well as his wife and unborn son and was killed by his brother in response. He is then killed again by the Hawkchilds, who were once the Icarii Enchanters he killed.
Let Me Get This Straight: Axis is (rightly) more than a little annoyed when he learns that he could have defeated the Skraelings by getting them drunk instead of fighting tooth and nail.
Light Is Not Nice: All Icarii are capable of this due to their arrogance, so are the Avar.
Meaningful Name: If a chapter's name happens to be a character's name, either a major event is going to happen involving that character or they're going to die.
Mind Rape: Happens to anyone who happens to be outside when the TimeKeepers have their hours, unless you're a Acharite who died and was ressurected. Also happens to Timozel and Zenith in unrelated circumstances.
My God, What Have I Done?: Axis' reaction to how he treated Azhure at the end of Enchanter when he thought she was WolfStar and invaded her mind to find out her secrets. He never stops regretting that and makes sure to make things right as best as he can.
Offing the Offspring: Axis attempts to do this to Drago in Pilgrim, thanks to Sicarius' intervention, he was stopped. Good thing too.
Our Elves Are Different: The Icarii and Avar; the Icarii are impossibly beautiful mystical enchanters with angel wings and a penchant for incest, and the Avar are xenophobic forest-dwelling fair folk who hate violence but power their magic with blood sacrifice.
Romantic False Lead: Strangely enough, Axis and Faraday are this for one another in the original trilogy. Axis marries Azhure who he has fallen in love with over the events of Enchanter and is destined to be with. In the second trilogy, Faraday ends up with Axis' son Drago due to being resurrected and still being physically in her early 20s.
Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Isfrael betrays Tencendor to the Demons in Crusader, Qeteb kills him when he invades the Sacred Grove, something he wouldn't have been able to do if Isfrael hadn't told him about it.