I REALLY LIKED IT
Saul is a prince who was captured and forced into slavery by an emperor who’d conquered his kingdom. We start Saul’s story on the day he escapes his captors and sets off to regain his kingdom’s freedom. The premise is very simple yet I found the story took some rather nice turns.
For me, I loved the first 15% of this book and the last 15%. I mean, I really really enjoyed it. Matter of fact, if the middle had been faster paced, I would have easily loved this book. And I bet that if things moved quicker, I might have even become obsessed. Unfortunately, the middle of this book felt like one drawn out plan to get into a castle and then was followed by a detailed execution of that plan. Granted, it was a good plan and there was stuff that needed to happen to deepen the plot and set up some things for the series, but for me it was just too slow. It probably goes back to my occasional wandering mind when stuck in one location for too long. For the entire middle of the book, we were in one city set on one task with some side adventures. I tend to like a bit more travel in my stories, and if you’re going to be in one location, the story needs to move super fast for me. This is—obviously—purely personal preference. There are a few stories that I have loved where the characters never move from one location, but it’s rare. This isn’t a short read, but it’s not overly long if you’re a reader who likes a bit more detail in their books, especially involving plots and planning.
The world was interesting enough. I felt satisfied in what I was given, had a good mental image and understanding, and enjoyed the run-ins with the Inquisition that gave this story a nice depth.
What pulled this book completely from my indifferent feeling was Saul. The story is told in first person, which I always enjoy, and we really get a good look at a man who has grown up in slavery. He comes out not exactly whole, and he went through some pretty horrible stuff that explains why. His intentions are good, but his callousness toward human life gets him in some tuff situations. There were some great lines from him that managed to get me to smile. Because of the sure enjoyment I found in Saul’s voice, I would definitely pick up the second book. I would hope it’d move faster since a lot of the building blocks are already set.
The two secondary characters are interesting enough, and Marcus’s carefree attitude is a good play on Saul’s more serious nature. I liked their interaction. The other characters felt very standard with nothing sticking out. Most played a very minor role so it didn’t bother me. I never felt cheated nor did I ever want to explore any other characters. I was satisfied with what I got from them.
So overall, this is a good book with huge potential in the second installment, which I fully plan on reading.