Wow, I have to say up front do not judge this book by its cover! I know it sounds shallow, but I did not have high expectations when I first saw the book’s cover. I’m so glad I read it as it is right up there with some of my favorite fantasy books by authors like Brandon Sanderson. The author took me on an adventure I will not forget, and often felt like I was present within the story itself. Although it is somewhat a coming of age book, it is not another YA fantasy book like so many others recently released. I enjoyed the world creation and also would expect to see other material by this author in the fantasy world he created. When one thinks of “high fantasy” book one often thinks of dwarfs, elves, etc. This book keeps the fantasy theme without needing to include the standard tropes of others in the genre. It is a great adventure/fantasy story told by one who known how to weaves a great story. I enjoyed the story line, character creation/depth, and speed at which the story flowed. This is not just another fantasy book filled with sword fights, but instead includes some different weapons, various lands, and even a journey on the high seas. One can expect to find many different twists, turns, and shocks while reading the book, I was so sad when it was done. I wanted more. It is not simply a book filled with fights, but a true tale including deep magic, wondrous creatures, and great lands all described in great detail by the author’s ability to paint an image of the character’s surroundings.I want to make sure to callout the author’s ability to tell a vast and expressive tale without having to resort to using vulgar language as so many other authors seem to do for the shock value. Such words would not have been in this world and the author did not put them in. This story was so well done that it does not have to resort to the use of vulgar language. Because of this, I believe the book is one to consider for younger (teen) readers. I will note that the author in a few spots does discuss prostitution which often takes place around taverns, however this is not something the author focuses upon. This is more used to show the state of the town and environment. The seedier parts of a city are included, even some light drinking or people getting drunk, but again this is not something the author felt important to include in great detail.If I had one negative thing to say about the book, it would simply be the overall length of the chapters themselves. I often like to read a single chapter or two in a sitting, and with very long chapters in this book I had to leave a few of them to be completed in two or three setting instead of one. This is more a personal preference and not something that would prevent me from reading this book.
I very much enjoyed each of the characters the author created along with the narration by the reader. I did not have one single character I liked over another.
As this review is for the Audiobook version of the book, I think it is important to talk about the narration. I believe Diana Croft complemented the story superbly. What I liked the most was her ability to maintain multiple characters, her normal European accent, and her narrative expressiveness. I can tell she knows the book’s material well and is able to add her voice to bring out the characters quite well.
I would gladly listen to other books by Diana if she continued to read books like this one. It would be an instant listen if she were to narrate the second book in the series. I was initially concerned when I saw that her other narrated book were mainly children books or rather shot books not in a genre I often listen too. This book is over 15 hours of narration and I could have easily listened to her narration if it were double that size.
If I were to make a film of this book, the tagline would be something like “The Epic Story Teller’s Tale”.
Disclaimer: This awesome book was provided to the reviewer at no charge by either the author, narrator, or publisher in exchange for a non-bias review.