This was an intense read in that many parts were confusing. (That's a weird statement for me!) I wasn't sure what had happened, and I felt somewhat dumb feeling that I missed important information. Now that I've finished the book, I see that those parts were supposed to be apart of the mystery. It did it's job, I kept turning pages to figure it out. And then it left me with that "slap yourself in the fourhead" feeling once the questions were answered.
I found I loved all of the characters, and of course Vaelin stood out because of his conflicting heart. He is a strong and intelligent character, who falls short at times. I like these qualities in protagonists. But what I loved above all else in this book, was the brotherhood (forgive me for lack of a more unique term) between Vaelin, Caenis, Nortah, Bartus, Dentos, and Frentis. The only other descriptive word that could work (but doesn't portray the bond enough) is friendship. I found myself coveting that relationship many times in the tale.
The magic portion of this book is very mysterious, and after having finished it, I still don't completely understand it. This leaves me anxiously awaited the sequel, The Tower Lord.
Mostly, I felt this book showed Anthony Ryan to be quite a talented author. Everything was detailed and complex but not too much to steer me away. This will definitely be a book I will reread. I also acknowledge that I will find many things I missed the first time through.
Before reading this book I had looked at many reviews, and one negative in particular stands out to me. The reviewer had claimed that most every statement had the word "brother" in it and that it annoyed that person to the extreme. I just wanted to say that personally, I didn't think it was overused at all. Not once did it seem a burden when reading. I didn't want to say the other reviewer's thoughts weren't acurate (because it was to them). I just wanted to add my two cents that it may not be an issue for everyone.
Fantastic book!!! Can't wait for it all to continue next year!