This book is high fantasy at it’s best. There is a broad, epic plot at the level of kingdoms and we get pieces making up this bigger picture from the perspective of a variety of characters. For one reason or another the four main characters are swept up in the larger plot and even have opportunities to change it, all while sharing with us their equally engrossing personal stories. Each of the main characters and many of the others are extremely well developed, with reasonable motivations and no clear line between the good guys and the bad. Transitions between the main view points and even a few secondary view points were done smoothly and I was always excited to get back to every character’s story. Keeping track of both the larger picture and the interpersonal relationships could have been challenging, but both the author’s writing and the inclusion of a map and cast list made it easy to follow along.
Everything about the book was flawlessly executed, but there were two small things that stopped me from falling hopelessly in love with it. First, there are a few senseless, easily preventable character deaths. Perhaps not a big deal, but character’s dying in that particular way is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. And second, there’s an awful lot of good triumphing over evil in this novel, enough that when I finished the book I felt a little empty – like nothing had been accomplished during the book. However, this second problem is also a good thing. All of the bad guys winning in this novel has done a perfect job setting up a fairly standard beginning for another high fantasy novel to follow – and based on the superb quality of this book, I expect that sequel to be exceptionally good.This review first published on Doing Dewey.