Like the rest of the series this book is entertaining with out being extraordinary. This particular book has more fighting and a less logical plot then the rest. Still it is fast passed and fun with colorful characters even if many of the plot points feel like there were put there solely to make sure the story didn't end too early and not because things would have logical happened as written. As noted by others there are strong homosexual overtones as well. Whether you are ok with that or not be ready to take a break form the story every now and again to be preached to. Not every author gets lucky and writes Harry Potter. So, if you are fine with a flaw or two and you don't want to reread the only three books in the world that meet all your standards again until next week, then this is a good book to fill the gap.
This is a good book. it has an interesting cast and dose a good job of showing the different styles of fighting, making them believable and interesting. it even does a good job with his life training playing with tension as much as can be done with ranger school. the only real problem is it doesn't try to do any more. will has very little personal drama to deal with other then his training. even when the climax comes it is generic bad guys who he defeats and not anyone connected to him personally. i misses the normal present extra element, but it is still a good book. it doesn't try to take on more and be a great book but not every book can be one of the best by the very definition of the phrase.
This book is a classic. That means if you have heard of it you either already know you will like it or you have to read it for class. If you know you like it congrats, you have probably already spend weeks picking apart each leg of the journey and know all the wonderful writer moves that Hesse makes. You can pat your self on the back for being part of the in crowd but please keep your superior intelligence to your self. If you are part of the second group you have a week or two of picking apart this book ahead of you. I am not saying that there isn't a lot there. Your next stop will most likely be clifnotes and you will find pages of analysis all of it valid, I am not trying to analyze the book for you I have already done that and do not wish to do so again. I simply wish to give you a bit of foresight into what reading this book will be like. Like most classics you were assigned there will be a lot of exposition. That means the book will be slow and dry. The plot will also take a lot of twists and turns. Not in the way a thriller movie would but in the way a biography does when someone suddenly changes jobs and moves across the country. It felt to me like each episode in the main character's journey was a story in and of itself and the only real thing that connected them was that they each happened to the same guy on his path to enlightenment. You should be able to get over the disjointness of the story but the fact that it is meant as an allegory and not as entertainment will drag after a while. Still if you have to read it for class then this wont stop you.
Like the rest of the series this book is entertaining with out being extraordinary. This particular book takes more time setting up the world and the characters as you would expect at the start of any trilogy. If you cant handle that “slowing down” the book then I recommend starting at book 2 of every series from now on. Canavan manages to show the struggle of the lower class with out being too heavy handed (she does make that mistake and preaches later in the series on a different subject but you don't have to worry about that in this book). I really enjoyed how bright and upbeat the dwells were in the face of such horrible conditions. It is not often that an author can convince the reader of how horrible a character's life is and yet not have the character be depressing to read. After reading all three books I grew rather fond of the dwells although most of the other names that Canavan created for this book did not sit so well with me. I enjoy a well built world but if all you change is the name of animal then all it does is confuse us. There are some interesting new words in the books when Canavan takes the time to give them new connotations but there are ten times as many new words that don't and anything to the book at all.
That is not to say it is a bad book just that it has a few rough edges. The characters are like able and overall it is a good page turner. Not every author gets lucky and writes Harry Potter. So, if you are fine with a flaw or two and you don't want to reread the only three books in the world that meet all your standards again until next week, then this is a good book to fill the gap.
Like her earlier works this is a prime example of epic fantasy. We see the return of old beloved characters a little worse for the ware form their time spent apart but it is great to watch them find their way back together against all odds. The prost vexing of those odds is of course the will of the empress (who would have thought). She is a very beguiling character who dominates the book. If you did not like the plotting and scheming in the author’s earlier works then you might want to shy away form this book because it is overflowing with sinister plots and strong willed nobles forcing their wills on others though the unwritten laws of the court. However if you love thwarting the upper-class at least once before breakfast then this is the book for you. Sure it might spend a little too much time telling rather then showing but who really wanted to work at discovering the main characters emotions and motivations for themselves, the real fun is in the scheming, the action, and of course the magic! As someone who reads four or five fantasy books a week and wants to eventually write this stuff for a living I give this 4 stars for a good job done and a very engaging read if it is what you are looking for.
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