"Torchlight" is a very classic coming of age fantasy with all the right elements in the right places.
So if you are one of those who are bored with the "teenage boy discovers he has great powers" plot, don't pick this up...fortunately I happen to be something of a fanatic of this genre: I have read hundreds of coming-of-age fantasy books (some good, some less so, obviously) and still I'm not sick of them. After all
it's nearly inevitable right now to fall into topics writing books (in fantasy maybe even more than in other genres): the trick lies in using them well and I think Theresa Dahlheim made a good work.
There is the "leaving home part" (since the protagonist is not an orphan), the old wise sorcerer, the school of magic, the ancient heritage, the misteries about this heritage.
Graegor is the son of a master carpenter and a chandler, he has a little sister and they live in a pacific little town on the shores of a lake...Graegor's father is a stern and serious man who rarely shows approval or love to his son. The boy is quite rebellious and he doesn't want to be a carpenter nor any other work available in town: he wants to work with horses so, when he loses the only opportunity to do that in town, he runs away to the city. He stubbornly refuses the help of a rich family friend who lives there and choses instead to beg for work in taverns while awaiting for a possibility to work with horses. Meanwhile a sect of heretics is searching for him for motives unknown. After he is chased by said heretics he meets the 500 years old Lord sorcerer of his land (there is one per country) and finds out that he is his successor, the Ninth Lord sorcerer of Telgardia. He now has to go to Maze Island where the Council of sorcerers resides and frequent the Academy of Magic. He will also meet the other eight new sorcerers...some will be friendly, some not.
I found Graegor a bit too confused and socially awkward, he was "awed" a bit too often...I liked the two princes and laughed when they described to him what he had incidentally done trying to "open a door" (...Sacred Flame...cliffs...).
I liked the way in wich different religions coexist on Maze Island and how the enstablished religion in Telgardia is a sedate universally accepted institution not one bit preachy (you see, when I read "God's gift" I began to fear: I'm really annoyed when religion in a fantasy book becomes preachy, but this was not).I appreciated the way Graegor perceives the presence of the past in ancient places, I loved the vivid descriptions and atmosphere the author created for the capital city and for Maze Isle...also, I must say those reminded me of some cities and places I've actually been to here in my country...(apart from the green and blue roofs, of course ;))
The antennae for better magic reception on the isle were funny...
There is a lot of impulsivity and teenage angst from the protagonist (particularly in the first half of the book).
In "Torchlight" everyone is capable of doing good things and making bad choices: for now there is no absolute villain, only rebellious heretics and rogue mages...I'd like to understand what they want exactly...and what the "One" is supposed to be...
I hated the narrow view of the world and obtusity Graegor's parents showed: their behaviour towards Miriam alienated them from me since the beginning. I hope in the next books there will be an explanation, especially from his father.
Thabitha here seemed to me a silly and vapid girl, but my judgment of her is still open...
The story interested me and I will surely read the next book :)
PS: Dear author, if you read this: Could you create an author page so people can follow you? Is there somewhere I can look to know when the next book is going to come out?
Other PS: sorry if there are mistakes but this is not my language :)