This book really surprised me. Entirely gripping, well written and original. Mixes the world of fairy tales with modern day fantasy. It's a love story, a coming of age tale, and an epic novel. The end leaves the reader with many questions left unanswered, and that in part is the power of this book. As you read, you are always seeking to know more, to understand who Kvote is and how he has come to be in the role of simple pub landlord. Everytime you get more information, further questions arise as the author skillfully teases and pulls the reader along a rollercoaster of a journey.
Looking back at the book, there actually weren't any adventures I'd describe as epic (they are surely to come in the sequels), yet it felt as though they were epic. This is becuase the author doesn't overplay his hand - scenes that some authors might rush through as they are too ordinary for a fantasy novel, Patrick Rothus takes much more seriously, giving the scenes realism. Simple street fights feel real and significant; there are painful realities of not having money or food and living on the street. Everything feels real and important, and the book is that much more readable and believable for it.
I can't recommend this book highly enough. The only downside is that once you've read it, you'll want to read the sequel which is not due out for at least another year.