Ross Kitson is a very good author, with an excellent command of English. No complaints about the grammar, very well written and the editing is not bad, just the odd phrase which stops the reading. The story is strong and powerful with well defined peoples, races, magic, religion and politics. The magic is woven into the tale in such a manner as to feel part of the story, no easy task.
I am not going to describe the story, suffice to say that if you enjoy sword and sorcery, you will enjoy this book and should read it. It is a very good book. It will not be a best seller for a number of reasons. I regret that I am now going to criticise it, because it doesn’t deserve much criticism compared to most other independent books. However I hope that it is positive criticism and expect the author to improve exponentially.
Firstly, it is overly complicated – there is a wealth of information that hits the reader immediately and is hard to take in. I just read on in these cases, and slowly it comes together and the maps become interesting. It was particularly slow to come together and for the maps to make sense. The names are a problem to me, all complicated and hard to remember, pointless in my opinion, deducting from my enjoyment of this excellent book. But these are petty and unimportant quibbles.
The real problem is that not enough time is devoted to the most engaging of the characters, Emelia and Hunor (see what I mean about names – these are two of the easiest). Hunor does not develop as a character until half way through, and Emelia’s development is incredibly slow. There is not enough engagement. Too much time is spent on characters who are simply not interesting. The author does spend time with the villains, and this serves to reduce the fear factor as one understands them better, and indeed they appear much weaker. It would be better to make them less well-known and thus more terrifying.
All in all an excellent book and an author to keep an eye on, as he will become very good.