The beginning was weird. For a while, it just made no sense. Then there was a discussion, and finally, I realised how it was tied to the story.
The story itself is about three siblings, who are the children of the Emperor. They all grew up away from each other, under very different circumstances.
Adare is the oldest, and the sister. I have read that the author got complains that her story seemed to be the less interesting one, but he assured everyone that it would change in the later books. She is a bit naive, but growing up in the palace does that to a person. Most of her learning comes from books. However, she gets mixed up in a dangerous game, and can't even be sure what side the players are on.
Valyn is the soldier. He grew up training to be an elite soldier. In this book I enjoyed his story the most. Mainly because a mystery was introduced right away, and I enjoy mysteries a lot. I was afraid I would have to wait 'til the end to find out, but it resolved in this book.
Kaden is the next emperor. His eyes are a strange colour, and for some reason that means he's blessed. For most of the book, I found his story the most boring one. It contained a lot of his special training, which was interesting, and maybe even worth trying in real life, but still, a bit boring. There was a mystery there as well, and an important part of the story was revealed there. It was only towards the end that it picked up.
The world itself is interesting. The religion in Annur is complex, with many gods. However, most people only concern themselves with one god they chose. I also liked how the stories about the gods may have their roots in history.
The landscape of the world varies from snowy mountains to almost tropical islands. I got a good sense of the feel of the places, so the author handled descriptions well.
It's a very physical world. Pain is a part of it, and so is pleasure. It's a very practical world, which appealed to me. Pain wasn't there just for the sake of pain, but it was always with a purpose, even if I didn't understand it at the time.
Overall, the book does remind me a bit of A Song of Ice and Fire, but not that violent so far. However, it's complex, and full of mysteries that keeps me wanting to turn the page. I grew to like all three siblings, and I care what happens to them. I'm excited to read the coming books.