It mostly works. As someone who rarely pens more than a school paper or a review such as this one, I’m almost hesitant to criticize someone who has written a novel. A fully realized story set in a world with its own set of rules and brought to fruition - that is what David Hair has done. It’s nothing to sneeze at, and I enjoyed the ride. Then again, I guess that’s the point of writing this.
The truth, is that I found my attention wavering and not infrequently. If I didn’t have a review to write, I might not have made it to the end. I am glad that I did, but I found the prose overblown and the references to real–world events both strained and not particularly relevant. The evil characters are clearly and sometimes eye-rollingly evil, and I never found myself rooting that hard for any of the protagonists. I didn’t really like them.
This isn’t enough to disqualify this book for a true fantasy fan by any means. At its strongest I found it reminiscent of Robert Jordan’s excellent, if meandering, Wheel of Time series, which, in turn, always struck me as one part Dune, one part LOTR, and 2 parts Jordan (and later Sanderson, but I digress). The scale is similar and impressive, and Hair’s ability to bring together multiple plot lines is genuinely impressive.
Whether or not I would have finished this book without outside impetus I don’t really know, but I was satisfied with the story as a whole and intend to read its sequel. But then, I have a lot of time on my hands.