Author: Paul Kleynhans
Length: 478 Pages
Release: July 2014
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
I received a free ecopy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Let me begin by saying that three stars is NOT a bad rating. I really enjoyed this book.
Saul, our main character and first person narrator, is a Prince/surgeon who was made a slave over a decade ago when his kingdom was conquered and his parents killed. In that time Saul has been turned into a torturer/assassin for Emperor Solas (the man who killed his family). But he's been plotting and planning his revenge the entire time. Now he's free and on a mission to restore his kingdom.
There were several things I really liked about this novel and the characters were one of them. Saul, Marcus, and Neysa are the main characters, but there are other memorable ones as well. These three are complex, conflicted, and overall interesting. They also make a great team because they each bring something different to the group.
The magic in this novel was quite fascinating as well. There are several different ways that magic is used within this novel. They are related, but distinct. True Names play a role (which I love because I've always found the concept of true names fascinating), and can be used to control people and elements when spoken correctly by the correct people. There is also more a general use of magic that relates more to witchcraft. It all blends together very well and I found the magic, while not drastically different than that presented in many other fantasy novels, had its own variations that gave it its own feel.
The main reason this novel is only getting a three star rating from me is the flow of the writing. While I think the novel is well written, there was too much detail in many parts. Particularly toward the beginning of the novel it felt like every mundane detail of Saul's life was getting attention when some of that could have easily been condensed. There was also some rushing and abrupt transitions that threw me off at times. Again, most of this was toward the beginning of the novel. The last half of the novel didn't have many of these problems.
There was some slight romance in the novel, but it wasn't overly done which was nice. Saul was a good narrator because he was so conflicted over the things he had done and was doing and had to come to terms with his actions. There is still plenty of development for him, but his progression was very well done.
Overall I thought this was a really fun and interesting story. I am already looking forward to book two which will come out later this year. There are definitely some questions I would like to have answered in that installment of the story. A nice beginning to this new fantasy series.