This is a really difficult book to review because it’s one of those books that is an experience rather than a story. Brian Staveley is not only an invaluable new voice to the epic fantasy genre, and the literary world at large, but he’s on his way to being one of the greats.
Don’t wait until HBO or some film producer pick up the rights before you read this- it’s that good. Actually, if the people who produce GoT took this on I’d expect it to live up to its awesomeness. I hope this happens because I need that in my life.
I’m not going to get into the plot further than the synopsis says because this is a book that everyone should go into not knowing what to expect, and this comes from someone who usually has no qualms with spoilers, but since I have an ARC I’m not even going to reiterate just in case there’s a change before print. I will tell you that this is has multiple storylines that are all connected but told fairly separately. It works beautifully though. I have a plethora of updates that I recommend looking over- I included several non-spoilery quotes.
One of the very best things about this story are the characters, it’s a character driven story for sure, and not only the fact that they’re all complex and fleshed out, but that each voice is so discernible. There is a big cast here, and they’re not all from the same place and such, no, they’re bringing differences that are great and small and not once did I feel like I was reading the same voice. Not one single time. I can’t even find the words. Still. I’ve been trying to think of it all day what I could say that would impress upon you all that it’s a need, not a want, for yourselves.
Superbly written, sublimely enchanting, utterly engrossing, grabs-you-by-the-throat-and-refuses-to-let-go, and then you’re a shell of a person once you’re finished. Laughing, crying, incredulity, frustration, shock, and disturbed are just a few of the feelings you should prepare yourself for.