I’ll start by saying that this book has a wide range of ratings on Goodreads (most falling into the 4 star rating), which goes to show that for this one, it’s just going to be a matter of taste.
I can say that the world was nicely imagined. It had a good set of lore and creatures and races to keep one interested. We spent a bit of time with two races that I thought were extremely well thought out. It gave us a chance to learn about the lore of the world and gave us the overall issues our main character might face in future books.
However, for this reader, worlds come second to characters. Unfortunately for me, Karsen wasn’t a character I latched on to, nor did I become enticed by his story. He did go through something tragic, but I never really settled in with him enough to care. His brother, Petr, didn’t snag hold of me either. None of the characters did. So that will always pull me out of a book, and the way the world was rolled out made me even distance myself further.
If you’ve read any of my reviews, and I hope you have (shout out to Steven Colbert - I stole his line), you’ll know that my eyes glaze over when I encounter large sections of info dumping. I’ll shut down pretty quick. Now, sometimes authors can sneak info dumps into conversations and I won’t know because 1) I either care about the character enough that I’m interested whenever they speak or 2) it’s done in a way that builds up the character by revealing quirks or adding to his/her voice. That said, Patrick used the dialog trick. However, I didn’t learn much about Karsen, his voice didn’t evolve or come alive for me, and it seemed the dialog internal thought tags really dragged it down for me. That combined with all the information turned me off from the story several times. Again, this is just personal preference. I’m really bad when it comes to a lot of information in one section.
Now, aside from those parts, I did enjoy the story overall. I can see there’s probably tons of traveling in Karsen’s future and the likelihood of him exploring fun places. This book set the foundation for the reasons Karsen has set out from his home and the purpose he needs to fulfill. All of it has a mysterious beginning that had me wondering what in the heck was going on.
So, as a whole, without a character to latch hold of and a world that felt too hand fed to me, this book falls into my indifferent category. It wasn’t horrible by any means, and I think there will be—and are—several people who enjoy this book.