This is a very good first book in a new fantasy series. It has it all – Kings and Queens, swords and fire, fighting, court intrigue, heroes, villains, dragons, magic, ancient beings, and a fickle god. C’mon, what more could you want in an epic fantasy?
Two continents at war, the Three Kingdoms and Ishara, are divided by past bloodshed. When an outside threat arises—the reawakening of a powerful ancient race that wants to remake the world—the two warring nations must somehow set aside generational hatreds and form an alliance to fight their true enemy.
I listened to the audible book and felt the narrator did a great job. This book is 528 pages and contains a fair amount of worldbuilding. Reading worldbuilding in the first books of fantasy series is never fun, but at least the author spread some of it throughout the book so it wasn’t concentrated in just one section. The chapters are short and are told in alternating points of views from several main characters. The characters are scattered throughout the kingdom and across the sea, and are having very different experiences that influence their thoughts and actions. Each character has their own prejudices, grudges and reasons for vengeance, thus, their motivations and desires conflict with other characters in the book, even those that should be aligned.
Because the various characters are spread throughout the empires, and the action is occurring simultaneously, the story jumps around a lot to check in with what is happening with each of the separate groups. There are a lot of moving parts in this story, so it requires the reader to pay close attention in order to understand everything that is going on. If that isn’t hard enough, additional characters are added to the story as it progresses. I, for one, didn’t mind this because the characters are fascinating and I loved trying to figure out how they would affect the storyline later.
There is plenty of intrigue, betrayals, and fighting in the book. I initially liked some characters, and then it was revealed that they did some shocking things that made me absolutely despise them. These baddies are balanced out with other characters that are more innocent and curious and I found myself rooting for their success. Yet other characters are mysterious and I wondered how they would factor into the story down the line. I have my suspicions, but the author could completely shock me just like he did with other characters in the book. I can’t wait to read how it turns out.
I really enjoyed this book. The pacing is a bit uneven, and there are definitely parts where it dragged, but overall, it was a gripping read and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.