on 22 June 2012
I first read this book about ten years ago and I've read it at least once every year since. Brilliant writing, complex characters that draw you in completely, outstanding plot!! This is my favourite book of all time and I'm loving each new book of hers that I read!
on 16 September 2001
This is about Seyonne, a slave, who gradually comes to change his whole way of thinking and being, back to the way he once was, before he was captured. It tells of a fight against enroaching evil, and Seyonne, a powerless man, the only one in any position to do anything about it. But to do that he has to do something almost unthinkable for him - become a friend and saviour to his capricious and often cruel master, Prince Aleksander. Don't think that because I've given it four instead of five stars that it isn't a great book. Reading a little on here, I see that this is her first novel, which is incredible given the complexity of it. She has a plot in which a few things happen which in another author's hands would be too much to believe, but she has the control over her characters to make them behave, and the breadth of vision to have created something quite new. The old staples may be there, the slave who was once important etc etc, but they are so well done that you don't notice them for what they are. I would recommend this book to anyone, both people who like fantasy, and those who like human interest.
on 19 August 2002
If you can get beyond the setup - Seyonne is most certainly a slave - then this book is wonderful. Both of the main characters undergo their own transformation, not least in their attitudes to the other.
There is not a hint of romance between them, though. Which disappointed me a little, but I suppose it wasn't really required. Indeed, I was quite enamored of Aleksander's wife-to-be, Lydia, and felt that she was poorly underused.
My one criticism is the time it takes for the book to truly take off. I am guilty of a sin when it comes to reading - I frequently skip ahead to reassure myself that things will work out for the characters. On the first read, I skipped the first half of the book - it dragged unbearably.
But, reassured, I went back and read the chapters I'd skipped - the author did a good job of convincing me to.