Everyone thinks him to be dead--or guilty. Without a word or sighting of Prince Lorrek of Cuskelom these last ten years, all believe the rumors of his crimes, which he is said to have committed, are true. However, when he finally returns to clear his name, Lorrek realizes the only way to find redemption is to become the very man they think him to be in this time when advanced technology challenges ancient magic to war.
I have no clue where to start with this (and avoid spoilers, so please be aware the MIGHT be unintentional spoilers), but I absolutely loved the book.
Kelly Blanchard manages to weave an extensive plot-line and juggle a huge cast of characters, all of which have a purpose in the story, together and at no time did I find myself bored or confused.
We have Lorrek, the youngest of four brothers, a Prince of Cuskelom (one of the Kingdoms). He is the main character and rightfully so. He is cunning, the one pushing the plot forward and the only one of the princes who has magic. He's the reason we have this book.
Then we have Theran, the eldest brother. Of course, as the oldest son of the King, he should be King after the former ruler's death, but he gave that responsibility to Honroth when Lorrek disappeared and instead set out to look for his brother.
Honroth, the second eldest, now King of Cuskelom. In my opinion a far better choice, as Theran isn't exactly the most responsible person.
Heldon, third eldest, twin brother of Honroth.
Speaking of twins, what I found interesting was that both Theran and Lorrek had cousins who looked like them. Therth is Theran's “twin” and Loroth is Lorrek's double. The prince's father, King Sindric, used Therth and Loroth to stand in for his sons whenever they couldn't make public appearances themselves.
The problem was just, Loroth didn't have magic, whereas Lorrek is one of the most powerful sorcerers, which lead to the events in this book. I can't get into details here, but this plot point was so interesting! Loved the idea!
Of course the “twins” of Lorrek and Theran lead to a whole lot of other events. THOSE events also add to the main conflict, the outcome at times horrific.
Apart from the royal family of Cuskelom, we have Vixen, wife of Loroth and renown assassin. And apart from Lorrek, she was my favorite character. Talk about strong female character. She is one of those characters who is loyal, a brilliant fighter and won't ever back down from anything.
I also loved Mordora and Moren, the Princess and Prince of Nirrorm and I hope we see more of them in the next book.
I adore a certain couple together and I dearly hope they can somehow be together in book 2. I can't say their names, that would be a spoiler. But they are so cute! Whenever I wanted to put the book down to do my work and I saw the next scene would be about them, I kept reading.
King Roskelem of Serhon horrified me. Those statues. This is why a madman should not have that much power.
The world-building Kelly has done is amazing. We have several different Kingdoms. One Kingdom where the people practice pure magic (you cannot use pure magic for yourself and because of that it somehow protects the people), places like Cuskelom where people use tainted magic. In one Kingdom magic is forbidden (Nirrorm, where Mordora and Moren live, which is unfortunate as they are magic users).
In Jechorm technology rules.
There are several more Kingdoms, like Serhon.
I'd describe the genre as epic fantasy mixed with science-fiction. I'd place this book right in with books such as the “Song of Fire and Ice” books, “The Elven” saga by Bernhard Hennen and “The Lord of the Rings”.
I understand that this is the first book of a series containing 3-4 books. This first book is a build-up to events in book 2, but firmly stands its ground as a stand-alone. It does end with a cliffhanger though, so be prepared to anxiously wait for book 2 with the rest of us.