*Book source ~ A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Jathen Monortith is the oldest child, in fact the oldest son, of the Queen of the Tazu Nation making him the heir to the throne. Unfortunately, though he was hatched, he is a Moot. In other words, he looks entirely human and can’t shift into dragon form. Growing up with prejudice against his “birth defect” he reaches the age of 19 with a substantial amount of anger burning up his insides. A travel offer from a Clan friend to go to a distant country is something he jumps at and the current king, his great-uncle Kyanith reluctantly agrees to let him go for five years. When he comes back, if he can defeat a Tazu in battle then he will be worthy to sit on the throne, assuming he even wants to. If he loses or does not want the throne he will step aside for his baby brother to rule. Five years is a long time for a sheltered prince to be gone. A lot can happen, can’t it?
I haven’t read an epic fantasy in quite awhile. It took me a bit to get into the rhythm of the story and the world. There is a vast amount of information in this first book and at times, it overwhelms. I found myself confused several times as I sorted out the different races, countries, religion and this world’s history. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a rich world with a wide variety of fascinating people and places. However, I had to deduct a bit for the occasional confusing bits.
Jathen is a great character. He’s a typical teen in some instances and wise in others. As he travels far from everything he’s ever known, that’s when he begins to really shine and start to come into his own. His traveling companions are fascinating and humorous and the situations that crop up keep me reading. I wanted to see what was around the next bend in the road or across the next river. They meet many interesting people along the way, there’s some peril, a bit of action, some mysterious goings on and a touch of romance. And betrayal as well as grief. By the end of the book a year has passed and the Jathen who left the Tazu Nation is very unlike the one who has survived this far and I have a feeling he’s only going to transform further in the next book. I very much look forward to continuing along with Jathen as he digs into the past and tries to figure out who he really is.