First, let me say that I don’t read much epic fantasy, and that probably has more bearing on the rating I’ve given than any other factor. There’s a lot that I loved in this book. The writing was great, without using language that distracted me from the plot and characters. I found the major characters to be well developed and reacted in realistic ways to the situations they confronted.
At 4-stars, I like Grudging – l like it a lot, but didn’t love it. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, there was a lot of description, which made the pace slower than what I prefer. I think that’s one of the main reasons I don’t read a lot of epic fantasy. I need to add that I thought the pacing was excellent during the last few chapters, which brought the story to a satisfying ending while leaving some things open to be continued in the next volume of the series. Aside from the pacing, the only thing that I believe could be improved would be to give more depth to the antagonists – the Northerners, their leader, and high priestess. I would expect to learn a lot more about them in future volumes, but would have been good to know a bit more to flesh them out in this book.
All in all, I like the world, the characters, and the tone of the writing. I’ll be back to read Faithful, the next installment of the series.