I REALLY LIKED IT
This teetered on the edge between really liking it to being indifferent. The reason I bumped it up was because I enjoyed the author’s voice and the overall story. The reason it almost kept me at indifferent was because of the sheer amount of detail in the book, especially scene setting. I don’t need a lot of action—although I do enjoy it—but I need slow scenes to move faster. These just had a lot of detail that really didn’t add much to the story, in my opinion. I like short descriptions; just a sentence here and there. Too much and I’ll start skimming, which is what ended up happening. For those who like descriptions, you’ll settle right into this book.
At the beginning of each chapter, there were small excerpts from history books or a saying here and there. I actually looked forward to each new chapter so could I read them. Here’s one of my favorites:
“Curse the gods if you must, but do it on your horse.”
The characters were well developed, rounded with both admirable qualities and flaws, and even the bad guy was actually interesting. Arandras had the most qualities I look for in a character; an internal struggle to overcome a horrific incident from his past. Unfortunately, even with as promising as the characters were, I just couldn’t get that engrossed in the book. All the scene setting kept pulling me out of the story and my mind wandered often. It’s just my own personal hang-up, one that I vehemently wish I could change.
This book has a lot of what I’ll call discovery. The characters are learning, unraveling mysteries, researching, and plotting. There’s not a ton of action in the first 3/4 of this book, and I wouldn't have minded the slower beginning if I had been obsessed. But because I wasn't, I wanted more action or less description. So without those, I struggled through a large chunk of the book. But the story itself was engaging. It revolves around learning the history behind a specific urn that has been found. There are three story lines (3 main characters) that connect wonderfully and each have their own mysteries to solve and their own agendas to satisfy. I will say the prologue was one of my favorite parts to read.
Another bonus was the writing itself. It flowed wonderfully, and during those interesting parts, I slipped into my reading trance. Karlov definitely has a smooth prose and I really enjoyed his writing.
So overall, I think if one likes description and can handle a slower beginning, they should definitely check out this book. For those of you unsure, take a look at the first chapter—not the prologue—and you’ll get a good feel for the writing and pacing.