A fantasy novel. First in a series. Which is due to run to five books.
It runs for three hundred and eighty one pages. It is divided into two parts. Then further into thirty three chapters plus a prologue and an epilogue.
There are maps of the setting at the front.
There's violence. Gory moments. Plus a few scenes of an adult nature. So it's not at all suitable for younger readers.
But there's only a handful of bits of bad language.
This series throws the reader in at the deep end, as the prologue tells us of the birth of a royal child. Who has been marked for death even before his due date. The child is saved but seemingly left for dead.
Then as the story proper begins the narrative jumps forward in time. We meet several viewpoint characters.
Krish. A humble goatherd.
Dae Hyo. A skilled warrior.
Nethmi. Gentle and cosseted princess.
Eric. A male companion. For other men. A trade where age will always catch up with you.
The narrative will jump back and forth between these characters quite regularly. But there are other viewpoint characters also.
The story and the details of the world in which it is set are gradually drip fed to the reader. Which is an approach that works very well. Because this is so solidly character based and so supremely readable from the off that it's a very easy book to get caught up in, and one where you might find yourself fighting the urge to read 'just one more chapter'. And not succeeding.
The main setting is smiler's fair, a huge fair where all sorts goes on and all sorts can be found. The rest of the world does feel a little different to the norm thanks to the noble warriors of this setting being tribesmen with their own unique names and customs.
And the characters are all quite interesting. Not always following the usual traits for this type of thing, which makes them stand out. The princess goes to some rather dark places. The one with the great destiny starts off completely hapless and has a lot to learn. Which makes them very realistic. The noble warrior has unique motivations and problems that I don't recall from any similar character of their kind before.
Although this is gory and violent and very dark in some ways it is a very good read and very well written. Looking forward to book two.