The author has taken a big chance in setting out this book, and for the most part, it has paid off. The conflict is shown from the points of view of both sides in the battle. Thus people are not assumed to be good guys because they are on the right side. There is no right side, and each character has to stand morally on his own virtue. Which many of them do not, even the heroes.
These are full-bodied, complex characters, struggling to make sense of the complicated world they live in. Unfortunately, the author spends rather too much time on this aspect of the tale, hampered by distracting flashbacks that reveal where each main character comes from, and this slows the tempo of the story. A bit more control of the timeline would make this an easier tale to follow.
I am not so worried about the time spent on setting description. An epic saga requires a lot of serious world-building with evocative description of the results.
The reason I like this novel is that I focus on characters when I read. I find them the most enjoyable part of a book. But one thing I have learned from my own writing; you cannot keep interrupting the action of your story to delve into extraneous personality factors, no matter how fascinating you find them.
An interesting and varied cast enmeshed in a complex social and political battle.
(4 / 5)