A must for any fan of quality fantasy. The style and feel is classic yet contemporary. The setting is a somewhat familiar medieval-esque realm. Prince Yarvi never wanted to be king. He’s a bookish boy with a crippled hand, on the cusp of taking his final examinations to become a Minister. (A celibate scientific/spiritual/advisory position.) However, the unexpected deaths of his father and brother leave him the heir.
He’s willing to step up to the plate and to do the best possible job – but are his subjects willing to accept him as King?
The beginning of the story reminded me quite a bit of ‘The Goblin Emperor,’ another excellent book that I read just recently. (The reluctant heir is a rather familiar trope, in general.)
However, soon enough, the story takes some unexpected twists and turns, becoming a gripping adventure/quest, with Yarvi’s goal being to seize his rightful crown. There are also some quite well-done coming-to-maturity themes. As Yarvi works toward his aims, and convinces those around him to join his cause, the reader is led to think about questioning what one is working toward, why one wants it, and what one is willing to sacrifice to get it. What is most important? Friendship? Loyalty? Oaths sworn?
I liked this as much as the only other full book I’ve read to date by Abercrombie, ‘The Blade Itself.’ Maybe I even preferred it by a shade… This one is being marketed as YA, but I didn’t find anything particularly juvenile about it, other than the main character being youthful.
I was very excited to receive a copy of this book from NetGalley. As always, the source affects my opinions not at all.