Boring. Boring. Boringboringboringboring. This novel is the start of an epic fantasy series and the entire time I was reading it I was either bored or annoyed, and frequently both annoyed and bored. Epic fantasy should not be boring. I don’t know, am I just past the stage where epic fantasy appeals to me? Surely that can’t be it, I’ve read epic fantasy in the recent past that didn’t irritate me. Perhaps I’m just getting picky in my old age. Yes, lets go with that.
The book follows the point of view of several characters. Mostly just the five main characters, but there were a couple of random characters thrown in as well. Three guesses if they’ll become important in the later books and the first two guesses don’t count. Sadly, I don’t think the POV shifting was well done and it was one of the things that annoyed me. We’d follow a character just long enough to get part of a scene done and then BAM new chapter/different character POV.
So, the characters; one is the bastard son of the most powerful man in the world, the second is that most powerful man, the third is the female love interest of said most powerful man, the fourth is the brother (and an equally powerful man) of said powerful man blahblahblah and so it goes. This most powerful man is the Prism, his brother is supposed to be dead because there was a huge war fifteen years ago about which brother would get to be the Prism. But instead of killing his brother Guille just imprisoned him. Because that ALWAYS goes so well for our heroes. Guille finds out he has a bastard son, and in the process stumbles across a kingdom planning a revolt against the Prism’s rule. Except, just as a note, even though Guille is the most powerful man in that he is the strongest at magic, he doesn’t actually rule the world he’s more of a figure head see. So yes. Then there is plotting and setting up the rest of the books and blahblahblahblah.
The writing is passable. There’s nothing offensively bad about it, but I wasn’t drawn in by it either. There were a number of passages that turned me off due to the obsession with violence. Look, I get it, soldiers are ugly during war. There’s no need to dwell on the ugliness.
The characters are flat and I cared nothing for any one of them. Not even the poor bastard who looses everyone he’s ever known. Not even when those deaths are depicted in a horribly bloody and detailed fashion.
The magic system felt straight out of a role playing guide. I once read a criticism of Brandon Sanderson that said his magic systems feel like they’re being written for a role playing game, and it’s a valid criticism. However Weeks is ten times worse. There was nothing organic about the way his system works, I could practically see the role playing manual and how it would be laid out. The thing is, that’s not the worst way to write. Like I said, Sanderson is pretty guilty of it and it is a very ‘scientific’ approach to magic. I don’t necessarily enjoy that approach, but it’s not horrible. However in this book I could feel the strings being pulled and it just irritated me.
I have absolutely no idea how this book made it onto my TBR pile, but I’m super annoyed that it did. I suspect it may be related to the fact that I read, and enjoyed, a flintlock fantasy last year and this book falls into that category. Do not recommend. So annoyed that this is my Cannonball book.