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Customer Review

VINE VOICEon 11 October 2009
Brought up on a wagon train, Isak is used to being hated and feared. His father blames him for the death of his mother in childbirth, and others see him only as a strong and unpredictable white-eye. His only friend is Carel, a former soldier turned trader who's training Isak to join the Ghosts, an elite band of soldier who serves Lord Farlan. When Isak arrived in Tirah however, he finds that he's been chosen by Nartis, the God of Storms to be the heir (Krann) to Lord Bahl. Pitched into a world of privilege and prophecy, Isak finds himself thrust into a world where men and elves and Gods are in conflict with each other and he is regarded as the only saviour.

Ambitious world-building and story-telling on a huge scale means there is much that is impressive within this novel. Pitched from poverty to wealth and power, Lloyd uses Isak's journey to draw out the complex nature of The Land and its history. He is supported by a wide-ranging cast, of whom the most interesting are Lord Bahl who tutors Isak in magic and his duties, Carel the crusty ex-soldier and the only person Isak trusts and Tila, the high-born lady who serves Isak and tutors him in protocol and politics.

The problem is that there are too many characters at times and while there is a cast list at the back, I frequently found myself having to refer to it in order to keep the character relationships straight. There is also a lot of plot, at times too much, making it difficult to keep track of what is happening to whom and it doesn't help that Lloyd frequently head-hops between POVs within scenes, which is a distraction.

The battle scenes are brutal and well depicted and there's no doubting Lloyd's imagination. However there are times when it's not clear within the writing just what is going on and a key scene towards the end with Lord Bahl happens off-page, robbing it of resonance. While the ending promises an interesting follow-up, there needs to be more focus in the writing for it to remain an interesting read.
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