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Literature / Ahriman Trilogy

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The Ahriman Trilogy is a series of young adult paranormal adventure stories, often described as Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the world of H. P. Lovecraft. The first book in the series, The Last Son of Ahriman came out in late 2014, the sequel, The Dark Price of Ahriman came out in early 2016, and the final installment, The New Dawn of Ahriman was released in 2018.

The central premise of the series is that evil comes from a rogue celestial body that sends monsters and madness to earth. A group of mages rose to fight its influence, and do so by actually bonding with the planet itself, using the power of madness against it. Needless to say, other mages aren't all that thrilled with this.

The book follows Simon Bell, who was never intended to have the power. When his family is killed, he accidentally completes the ritual and becomes a mage. Using his newfound power and fighting the relentless maddening whispers of the planet, he attempts to restore his sister's soul. In the second book, he stumbles across the person really responsible for his family's death. Whether or not he can actually take revenge is a question.

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The Ahriman Trilogy provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Zoe Durant, Simon's warden, fits this to a T. Detective Vicki Yang as well, though she could easily be called a Dark Action Girl toward the end.  Erin Orsulich less so, but she has her moments.
  • Adults Are Useless: Averted, with Cleon Monroe.
  • Affably Evil: Sure, Avery is an evil witch, but she acts like a friendly homemaker.
  • The Alcoholic: Frank Browning.
  • Almighty Idiot: Ahriman itself. While immeasurably powerful, it lacks any real personality or even consciousness, and never demonstrates any sort of higher-level thinking, acting pretty much solely on instinctual urges. It leaves all the actual thought and planning to those it corrupts.
  • Ax-Crazy: All the Agents, though Porter Morgan, the aptly named Axe-Man, takes this literally. He is driven to kill people by Ahriman's whispers in his head, hoping the murders will quiet the voices.
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  • An Axe to Grind: Porter Morgan once again.
  • Awesome Aussie: In the second book, you have Caitlin Reid, a half crazy chemistry expert who uses her knowledge to make caustic bombs that only hurt eldritch horrors. She also openly acknowledges the trope with her mention that she hasn't wrestled a croc in a week. Simon isn't sure if she's joking.
  • Battle Couple: That's the whole point of the mage/warden relationship. The mage fights the planet, while the warden deals with mortals and other mages. The gender of each half of the couple is variable, but it's usually one male, one female.
  • Berserk Button: Zoe loses it when Simon’s not in a fair fight.
  • Betty and Veronica: Ashley and Zoe for Fausto. Erin and Zoe for Simon.
  • Bi the Way: Caitlin Reid is very up front about her sexual orientation.
  • The Chosen One: Averted. Simon's brother Gabe was the chosen one, but he gets killed at the very beginning.
  • Death World: Ahriman. The unbreathable, lethally cold atmosphere will kill anyone without magical protection in seconds. That magical protection has to either be very powerful or come from Ahriman itself. In the latter case, it whispers in visitors' heads constantly to make them go insane and turn them into its will. Once you get past that, there are the native Ahrimanes, nearly all of which are predators far deadlier than most mundane Earth animals. The worst of these are literal gods the size of mountains, which spend most of their lives asleep but periodically go on ravenous rampages during which they eat whole species. There is no rain, or any surface water at all, and the only thing resembling an ocean is in fact an enormous, carnivorous amoeba creature. On top of that, the terrain shifts seemingly at random...because Ahriman is actually alive and semi-sapient, and it may help or hurt visitors for any or no reason.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Toby Homolka, the Big Bad of the first book.
  • The Dragon: Porter Morgan, the Axe-Man. The sequel gives us Elmer, for Avery.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Frank, when he thinks he's failed to protect Simon and Zoe.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Ahriman and its denizens/children. It's a straight example of the trope.
  • Eldritch Location: Ahriman itself toes the line between a location and a god. There's not much of a distinction.
  • Enemy Mine: Simon and Cleon team up at the end to take Toby down.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Toby Homolka definitely. His master, Avery is strongly implied.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Zoe is fond of using a little French-Canadian curse with torrieu.
  • Genre-Busting: This could probably best be described as young adult Urban Fantasy superhero cosmic horror.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Both Simon and his mom have the good variety. Simon has the kiss-like marks from the anubans in the beginning.
  • Haunted House: Subverted with the Guest. The Bell house is haunted... but it's closer to being possessed. The entity is friendly, draws on the energy of the inhabitants, and uses its power to protect.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Fausto is a large football player. Zoe is tiny.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The Axe-Man slowly becomes one as the first book progresses. By the second, he's human in general shape only. He can summon his axe out of nothing, is permanently shrouded in shadow, and can seemingly vanish from existence when he's not otherwise occupied. He is also barely more than a puppet of Ahriman's murderous will, driven to serve Ahriman mages and to kill just about everyone else.
  • Kick the Dog: The Surgeon in a horrible case.
  • Los Angeles: The bulk of the book takes place in San Pedro, a suburb by the port.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: Simon's abilities are practically the platonic ideal of the trope.
  • Mad Scientist: The Surgeon.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Avery. Well, the terrifying older lady behind the man anyway.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Sensitive, intellectual Simon and militant bruiser Zoe.
  • Minor Major Character: Druj is the avatar of Ahriman's will and the part of it that handles basically all of its actual thinking, including selecting and empowering Agents, making him indirectly responsible for much of the series' events. This would make him the Big Bad, except he appears in only a couple of scenes in the third book, acts mainly as a Diabolus ex Machina to get the main cast separated from each other, and spends more time trying to stick it in Laila than anything else. Ahriman's threat to Earth also remains after Simon kills him, and the Final Boss ends up being Fausto.
  • No Bisexuals: Averted. Cait identifies as bisexual rather matter-of-factly.
  • Sequel Hook: "She's going to summon a god!" is maybe one of the more obvious cues there is a sequel in the works.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Axe-Man, the Surgeon. Both have real names, but don't use them. Other Agents also use names like this, apparently bestowed by Ahriman, and generally forget their old names entirely.
  • Starfish Aliens: The Ahrimanes are the Eldritch Abomination variety. Specifics vary by type, but Ahrimane anatomy adheres only marginally to biology, physics, and common sense. Additionally, their biochemistry is also radically different, but varies from type to type; chants, for example, suffer chemical burns from milk.
  • Tap on the Head: Played for laughs. Zoe wants to prove she can knock someone out, and Simon doesn't believe her. His narration cuts off mid-sentence.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Simon, Erin, Fausto. Pretty much a textbook example of the trope.
  • Tom Boy And Girly Girl: Zoe and Erin.
  • Waif-Fu: Zoe, although it's clear she does actual martial arts suited for someone with a small frame. The whole point of jiu-jitsu, one of her primary methods of combat, is for smaller defenders to disable larger attackers.

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