Author: Jonathan Renshaw
Length: 712 Pages
Release: May 2015
At the beginning of the year one of my reading friends suggested this book to me. I immediately added it to my list and it would periodically pop up. After reading her review I finally decided to get the book and read it. And I'm really glad I did.
This isn't the most groundbreaking, mind blowing epic fantasy that there is, but it's a good start to what could turn into an excellent series. We follow a young boy name Aedan who has his entire life turned upside down by the arrival of a single man. He and his best friend Kalry are smart enough to see the signs, but no one will take them seriously, which leads to disaster.
The beginning of the story is rather slow, as is customary with these types of novels. Things start to pick up once Aedan enters training as a marshal. The cast of characters is filled out nicely with his schoolmates. My favorites are Peashot and Hadley, who play off of Aedan quite well. And I love the school setting. I always have and I think I always will.
This novel deals a lot with family and friendship. It tackles some hard hitting topics like abuse and slavery, but in a really great way. Aedan doesn't overcome his problems easily. In fact, he really hasn't overcome his problems by the end of this first book, which I appreciated. At times it seemed like he was too smart (or sometimes that others just weren't smart enough), but when it came to dealing with his real issues, it didn't gloss over them. Life for Aedan is hard. But he keeps on living and finds ways to believe, even when it seems like there is no hope to be had.
There are hints of magic and other forces at work, but those aren't completely realized in this first installment. The ending gives me hope that this will play more of a role in the coming books, as Aedan sets out on a quest that could shape the future for many of our characters. It won't be easy, but if he succeeds (or even fails) it will be worth it. Sometimes you just have to try and hope that what you can do is enough.
I think this novel could use with another round of edits, just to clean things up a bit, but it's very well written. Since the author has released multiple editions, fixing issues that he has found, I feel confident that he will continue to improve his work. I am really looking forward to the next installment and hope that people will continue to read--and enjoy--this novel.