The story follows young Garth as he finds himself in more and more trouble (and coincidentally in a role of great import to the kingdom of Hain). He's new to the kingdom and of his newfound abilities, so as he finds out more about the world, so do you. You would think after all that happens to him and all the responsibility that's heaped upon his door that he just can't catch a break, but he handles himself valiantly. He is young but not brash; powerful but not arrogant; likable and easygoing.
This is not your typical fantasy although it shares many of the same themes you'll find in other books of the genre. What I found refreshing about it was what it didn't include. There was an academy setting, yet the main character wasn't bullied like in every other school arch I've ever read. There is no evil foe plotting to take over the world or scheming the protagonist's death at every turn. There is a love interest, but Garth is not completely inept around her. He is constantly finding himself at a disadvantage but he isn't whiny or edgy, rather his character comes through time and time again without becoming overbearing. There are a host of other such motifs that I find authors constantly using as a crutch to invoke emotions in the readers (something I find to be tedious and over-used) which could have been applied but weren't.
That's not to say there isn't a ton of action or things going on in the story. It is very fast-paced without leaving the reader behind or lacking in description or world-building. There are many instances of nail-biting proportions and edge-of-your-seat fun. "Jaunten" is chock-full of humorous situations and life lessons. The author does an extremely good job of introducing new characters without making me feel overwhelmed or impatient (simply wanting to get back to Garth). Also, do not confuse lack of a consistent, tangible enemy to that of a nonexistent plot or conflict. Garth battles against nature, adversity, coming to terms with his own emotions and purpose in life, and people who want to kill him for what he was born with - it often feels as if the world is conspiring against him. Finally, the main character himself is one I can relate to and I find easy to root for in difficult situations. I can't wait to read more about him and his life, and am literally buzzing with excitement for the next installment.
Take it from a scifi/fantasy junkie: you won't find a better adventure for the price, so clear a full day or two in your schedule, buy this book, and prepare to be absorbed in the wonderful new world of the Advent Mage.