Three out of Five Stars: I liked it
An exiled knight returns after 10 years to find his queen deathly ill and encased in magic stone in order to prolong her life. He sets out on a highly political and violent quest to rout out who is behind her mysterious illness and thwart those people that would want to usurp her throne.
I enjoyed this book. It wasn’t earth-shattering, but it was a fun read. It was also a fast-read. I made it through it’s 435 pages in 6 hours or so.
What enjoyed the most would be some of the quotes. Eddings made sure the main characters were constantly bickering and bantering back and forth, throwing out jabs and one liners at each other. This kept the story light and I found myself laughing out loud (quite literally) at least a dozen times during the read of this book.
He also had some deep entrenching religions in his world that ultimately believed in the same gods, but different aspects of the gods, much like we do now. This led to some interesting relationships among some of the characters. The constant proselytizing by one of the religions did get a little old, but religion is integral to the storyline, and I’m hoping the reasons why will be fleshed out later.
I had a rough time with the names. There must have been at least 7o different names (people as well as places) to keep track of all within it’s pages. This got confusing. I ended up concentrating on the core group of adventurers and glossed over details of who they were speaking to.
It still left me not fully understanding the intricacies of the dialogue. I followed the conversations while they were happening and by the time we came back to the same character later in the book I had no mental connection to their previous conversations. This made for some confusing conversations later on in the book when the author did not introduce the character, instead relying on me having kept up with his myriad of names.
I liked that traveling took some time. One does not simply hop on a horse and by the end of the day be at another town on the other side of the country. They travelled for days, sometimes weeks to get around. Much of this was sped up with a couple vignettes during stops to describe the heros as they worked their way across the land. Because of the speed-up during traveling I lost sense of time. The entire book takes place over the course of quite a few months but I didn’t feel like it really did. It felt more like a couple weeks.
As I neared the end of the book I wondered how they were going to wrap up the entire storyline that quickly, and they ultimately did not. This book was written as part of a trilogy and while plenty happens in the book, nothing really is resolved by the end and the hero is given the knowledge that will launch into the next two books.
Overall I had fun reading it. It was fast-paced, witty, and engaging. The multitude of characters that came in and out of the story made for a confusing read and the disappointing ending to this book made for a bit of a let-down. I would recommend it if you are committed to reading the rest of the trilogy, which I am currently working on now.