Theo: An orphan brought up in the palace as a ward of the king.
Nagima: She is a Sigander, the race that were the original natives of the land. They now are mainly forest dwellers, and Nagima is endowed with magical powers, which is not unexpected in her race.
Tess: An urchin living off her wits.
Pasqual: Tess’s cousin, slow of mind but huge, and brute-force strong.
Dak: A Sigander, who rescues Theo, and takes him to “the Mother”.
Losik: Theo’s minder, and a powerful court official.
Olister: The court mage, very powerful in the magical arts.
The story opens with Theo being returned to his home in Rigol, having unsuccessfully tried to run away to join the Kings Guard in Ironhead, the capital city. He is with Losik, who sets out the plans he has for young, intelligent Theo. However, the carriage is ambushed, and Theo falls over the side of a cliff, suffering serious injuries.
He is found by Nagima and Dak, who rush him to “the mother”. It is evident there is serious civil unrest in the land, for their journey is fraught with peril also, and people are being forced to choose sides.
In parallel, Tess and Pasquale are making their way to Ironhead, for the annual tournament between those of royal blood, to determine who becomes king that year if the current king dies.
We see there are factions within each of these separate spheres of existence, and the subordinate Sigander rise in rebellion against their masters.
As the wave of war washes over the capital city, each of our four main protagonists find themselves with choices to make, and sides to take.
What I Liked:
- A very easy read, once you get into the rhythm.
- The pace is fast, and the story quickly develops over the two days or so of timeline.
- There are interesting concepts, and potentially a great struggle between two different cultures and outlooks.
What I Didn’t Like:
- The Yoda-like manner of speaking of the Sigander.
A generally positive start to a series. I think there should be more done around world-building, and definitely the author needs to develop the characters more. I would also like more context around the history of the two races, but that may come in the next book?
At 200 or so pages it is a quick read, and very entertaining. It is a story that has massive potential, and could spark in many different directions, so I am looking forward to the next one!
Thanks to the author who sent me a .pdf of the book, in return for an honest and objective review.