Where to start with this one? It was a great read, though it took a while for me to get sucked into the story. Mostly, it was because of the unfamiliar words for the people and locations. Not much you can do about that when you are writing about a different world.
The characterizations are wonderfully done – complex, and believable. There is a fairly hefty cast in this book considering its length. However, as this is a series book, this is a good size cast for a longer tale. In this installment, you get to meet the more primitive people of the world Sean has developed, but do not let their lack of civilized wonders fool you. They are just as sophisticated as anyone else I’ve met. My only grouse with them is that there are a few too many to let a few of the more visceral scenes pack the wallop that they should have.
This story tries to run the gamut of emotions, and does a nice job with it. Except for one scene, which I think is more me, than the writer – I was more concerned with what had happened to some of the secondary characters than I was with what was actually going on with the scene. Will be interesting to see if it gut-punches me on the re-read.
Though this is a story of good vs evil set up as a fantasy “cowboys and Indians” there is more going on here than what’s on the surface. I’m not going to spoil it and tell much more about the story itself, but instead focus on the technicalities. (I know, I’m mean aren’t I?)
As I said, this one took a while to get me thoroughly hooked. However, there was never a time where I wondered just when things were going to pick up and get going. The pacing of the action was that good. Along the way I swear I could smell the world Sean created. The settings were breath taking, without massive amounts of narrative used to draw them. A wonderful balance for me.
The action sequences definitely kept me on the edge of my seat, and kept me turning the pages until I was done.
Final impression? Definitely a 4.5 out of 5 stars. The last half star might be coming once I can go back and re-read. As I said, most of my trouble with this one were the names.