The Kingdom of Wendar is beset by civil war between brother and sister for the throne, by two hostile nonhuman races, by ghosts roaming the streets, and by enough other plots and counterplots to fuel the average Balkan war. Key to successfully resolving the overly fraught situation are Alain, a young prophet who needs to learn his parentage before he can act safely, and Liath, a lifelong fugitive sheltered by her father from worldly knowledge that she must acquire before she can act.
Okay, let me tell you this: excessive worldbuilding really isn’t one of my personal favorite things in fantasy. That might explain why it took me a while to warm up to Elliott’s style. Everything starts out as your standard epic fantasy archetype: We have a country at war with a mysterious, non-human race, while said country also is at the brink of a succession war on the inside. The main characters are stereotypes at first, but they soon turn into more. That and tons of religious background, but doubtlessly great worldbuilding make for a little bit of a slow start and it made me realize how long it’s been since I started reading The Wheel of Time & Co. since I’ve been a little ‘out’ of epic fantasy on the big scale.
Again, before I get all the Elliott fans ranting and raving at my utterly deluded judgement – this is just a personal thing. I’m not much of the worldbuilding type, but more of a plot- and character-oriented reader so what gets me hooked is an intriguing character and there my loves, I damn-well can’t complain!
I didn’t really care for Liath’s character much in the beginning, but by the time she meets certain other characters I loved her sections. Alain starts out as your typical ‘good, naive village boy’ character, but he undergoes some changes and gains some nifty abilities that make me want to read more. Oh and did I mention that I’m totally looking forward to getting to see more of Sanglant in the sequel, Prince of Dogs? Yeah, in the end I got hooked and intrigued and wanting for more – so guess where I’m stopping by to pick up at least the second one of this seven-volume series? You got it – Nym’s getting another book-fix today 😀
I guess I’m sort of finding my way back into epic fantasy, even though I have to admit I’m skipping some of the all too excessive worldbuilding to get things going. Does that tell you anything about my writing style? You bet.