I really love the game Dragon Age and wanted to read the corresponding novels. I did not have high expectation, though since the story of the game itself is great, I did hope it would be good. I actually enjoyed the book a great deal.
The story does kick off in an abrupt fashion, but the characters are introduced gradually. In a similar fashion to the game, we get to learn the past when it comes up, while the story progresses. Often, you can feel that the writer mostly writes for games as the party often ends up with four or less characters. That is the same standard in the game. However, this is good in the sense that it puts the reader back into the frame of the game.
The book mostly focuses on two men, Maric and Loghain, their relationship as it evolves and changes. It does shed some light on the motivations behind Loghain's betrayal. It is also very exciting and surprising as the characters get into situations where you stop and wonder how they are going to get out of it. The writer did avoid describing huge battles and mostly summarizes the happenings after the fact, rather focusing on the acts of the main characters. While this may seem like an evasion - and it is a technique I'm going to remember -, often in novels great battles do tend to be hard to follow, and lack the excitement that witnessing them would bring. Therefore, it doesn't feel like a great loss.
While this may not be the greatest fantasy novel of all time, it is an interesting read, gives good background to the game and overall just clean fun. It also makes you want to play again. Therefore, it does fulfill its purpose.