So first of all, apart from a few notable exceptions, I’m not a huge fan of traditional epic fantasy. I much more prefer character-focused stories with epic prose, and for that reason it took me a while to get around to this book. Even at the beginning I struggled to make myself focus, to take in and remember who’s who and what exactly is going on in this world. But I really wanted to like the book, because of all those lovely people involved who I just adore: John Gwynne, of course, and helping him among others his absolutely amazing wife, Caroline, the very cool Edward and Will, whom I got to chat with on a number of occasions now, and even the mighty Kareem Mahfouz! So I marched on, because I really wanted to like this book and … damn! I LOVED it! I did not see that coming! In fact, I’m quite disappointed now that the book finished where it finished and I can’t just go on and find out what happens next!
John Gwynne is such a natural and talented storyteller. His world draws you in and makes you feel part of it. As if you listened to the tale while sitting around the fire, sharing dinner with folks from the Banished Lands. It’s flawless. Everything about it fits together perfectly and feels just right. I was also quite impressed by how gradually the book darkened and just how dark it got, the dread descending over me just as much as over the characters, their pain and loss affecting me deeply.
I look forward to reading the next volume.