The first thing I will say about this book is that it took me a while to get into it. For the first quarter of the novel I struggled to immerse myself into the story. The second thing I will say is that I am glad that I stuck with it as by the half way point I was hooked and found myself looking forward to my next instalment with anticipation.
This book will be loved by those who enjoy high fantasy as it deals with mighty kings, messianic princes, rebellious princess and a war between two mighty nations. But it wasn’t this that finally caught my attention. What ultimately hooked me was the character relationships within the tale. Much of the book explores what happens when two very different religions come face to face in a struggle for power and domination. This is the books strength and its greatest weakness. It is this aspect of the story that makes this novel unlike the many others fantasy novels on the market. The religions within this story feel real and have a sense that they have thousands of years of history and culture behind them. Most religions described in fantasy novels are caricatures and as such don’t have the same depth or believability. This attention to detail lends weight to the whole story, giving each character motivation and impetus. The down side was at times this played a little too heavily and at the beginning of the novel it distracted from the character development. A perfect example of this is the character of Caio (the messianic prince). For the first part of the book he felt more like a religious symbol rather than an actual three dimensional character.
Also the narrative seemed a little heavily worked at times. A bit too concerned with prose rather than the flow of reading. Saying that, the author has a skill for descriptive writing that does paint vivid images in your mind. The action and fight scenes are well written as well as being paced to perfection.
Even with the criticism above when the book finally captivated me it did so totally. I became wholly captivated with the characters and the interplay between two nations who both saw themselves as being on the side of good. Also the conflict between the points of view of two generations was interesting. This aspect is played out on both sides of the war. The conflict and its political nature is looked at from a multitude of aspects and this is part of the books appeal. Throughout the book the author wants you to look into what motivates nations and people to go to war.
Overall I would describe this book as a high fantasy for the grownups. If you are happy to put a little effort into your reading then this is one for you. If you’d rather your novel didn’t tax the brain then I would avoid that one.
I award this 4 stars
Reviewed by Darkiss