The first thing that captured my attention with this particular book was the smell. It was interesting, different from the standard smell of a book. I attribute this to the differences between large presses and the small press that produced the book. However, it intrigued me, and as soon as I had finished the book I was reading upon it's arrival, I began reading in earnest.
The story is fairly unique in the genre of Fantasy, neither being an Epic adventure such as the Lord of the Rings nor exactly a story of learning such as Harry Potter, despite having elements of apprenticship and learning within it. It is a coming-of-age tale, with a well written non-linear structure that allows Orlan, the wizard's son, to move from childhood to adulthood without the narrative being required to jump between interesting points. The setting of the story, primarily the wizard's home and a nearby city, are described sufficiently well, but certain characters have the potential to be much more developed, particularly ones that are introduced near the end. This is especially true of one of the main character's love interests, whose loss results in a major decision for Orlan. The reader is not as in love with this character as we should be, and so it is harder for us to understandt that decision.
The story, despite being well written, doesn't seem to have any one particular story-arc, except the emotions and feelings of the main character. This is what sets it apart from other fantasy works, and although the idea could seem unappealing to some readers, it is a book that is well worth reading. Although it doesn't have a great physical struggle between good and evil, it discusses the issue in great depth, through the different types of magic and the tumultuous opinions of Orlan, in a way that few authors can do. In addition to this it looks at the themes of self-restraint and human nature, both difficult topics that are incredibly well approached.
While not the most addictive book that I've read, it was a highly interesting and enjoyable read, and I look forwards to reading more of the author's work.