This is a confident and engaging effort from the author, especially considering it is his first book.
In brief summary an Emperor is killed and this is the tale of his two sons and his daughter. The main focus is on the sons, the heir undergoing training as a monk and the other training in an elite military unit.
As I picked this up it felt like a generic weighty volume of fantasy. The prologue also felt a little heavy and it was with a gentle sigh that I turned the page...into a story that flew off the pages. There were some elements we will have seen before ( a harsh teacher) but you are turning the pages so quickly that you barely notice. The story switches between viewpoints and throws lots of twists and intrigue in there to keep you reading `just one more chapter'. The world building is interesting and the characters work within it. Ancient myths are balanced with a magic by which various powers are leached from a variety of sources by a select and untrusted few. Our threads are mainly one of growth, one of comradeship and one of politics. They all work very well indeed. There is an overarching theme of not knowing who to trust and you really, really want to know `who' and `why'.
Recommended and I am gutted about how long I will have to wait for the next one.