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 impossibly 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.
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.
Esoteric Happy Ending: Apparently everyone had to die, and the happiness is kind of enforced on them. Plus the countries outside haven't exactly achieved salvation.
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.
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.
Calling The Old Woman Out: Zenith calls out Azhure for her and Axis's Parental Favourtism, recalling how they pampered Caellum and left not only Drago, but herself and RiverStar feeling neglected. Azhure takes it and admits fault.
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.
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.
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.