Top critical review
The first half is great
Reviewed in the United States on February 8, 2019
I love the premise--how these young boys are trained and have to complete tests to become a part of the Sixth Order, the warriors of the Realm. The descriptions of the Order House, the masters, the aspects, and Vaelin's fellow "brothers" are so interesting. Some of the characters are multi-layered. The King--Janus is dimensional. I loved seeing how his crafty mind worked.
About 60% in to the book is when it started to become chaotic. The editing seemed to take a back seat, the time periods were untidy, narration was hit and miss, and the war and battle sequences were often confusing with so many new names of characters, cities, faiths, it was hard to read. It was like a Game of Thrones ambition that fell far short.
Some parts of the story were given lots of detail and other parts--important parts--were skimmed over. For example, the five years Vaelin spent in prison. Then when he has his battle with the Shield, it's over almost before it begins. It really feels like there are two books here, and the second one is still in the draft stage.
When I was reading the first half of this book, I was excited to have discovered a new series that was well written and fun to read. Now that I've finished the book, I know I won't be reading any more of these.