This is an excellent introduction to what will surely develop into a well-crafted series. One of my favorite readings when I first began reading fantasy was Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea. This author’s language is similar in simplicity and beauty to my old favorite. It is economical, yet lyrical. The world the author creates has the usual elements of fantasy: gods, elves, monsters, mythical tales of creation, and the requisite evil sorceress in the quest for a magical stone. But the author has taken those elements are imbued them with originality. The charrs are very different from Tolkien’s orcs, far more deadly and terrifying with the power of fire. Arryn, also known as Ankenar, seems to be a weak and flawed character, but it is clear that he is just the seed for what his character will become. Obviously, most heroes are not born heroes; some are forced to become such by circumstance. We are also left with questions about his sister; will she be a force for good or for evil? And who is the incredibly powerful and beautiful sorceress that so easily controls the charrs and bring such devastation? As a reader and lover of fantasy, I am left wanting to read more.
Now, what disappointed me? I was disappointed by the length of the story. It seems that so many authors are putting out the first few chapters of a promising work and calling it a novel. I understand that this is a marketing strategy, a sort of ‘hook.’ I have many favorite authors that I discovered because they offered a free first novel which I downloaded and loved. But I was not left feeling cheated when I expected a full novel, and got five short chapters. I, for one, am left wondering if it is worth my few dollars for the next episode which may well be another 70 or 80 pages. Had this been at least novella length, I would've given it 5 stars.