On K'Barth, the Nimmists are long gone- or long in hiding- and the Chosen One has yet to be found...or so it's thought. Lord Vernon is making plans to take charge of this world, and he will use any tools at his disposal to make sure his plan goes off without a hitch. The Pan is a blacklisted criminal who has managed to stay alive in spite of his lack of courage, or maybe because of it. He lives by his wits, and has survived far longer than expected, against all odds. When he gets trapped into using his skills for a mastermind criminal, his life takes some unexpected turns. He soon becomes a creature of intense interest from all sides of this movement, and he reluctantly becomes part of some of the most daring and adventuresome events of his age.
This is the kind of book I really shouldn't have liked- it's filled with odd new beings and some new terminology with magic thrown in; just the kind of fantasy that I normally pass by. I like the magical and otherworldly aspects, I just don't usually like various types of creatures together (even that bar scene in Star Wars bugged me as a kid). It just isn't my "thing." Well, perhaps I'm wrong, and this is my "thing," because I found I was turning pages as fast as I could. There were some lulls here and there, but for the most part, the plot moves along nicely, even though you're not sure exactly where it's headed.
The Pan is engaging and likable, surprisingly so. He's sympathetic and plucky all at once. Big Merv undergoes a nice transition in character, and his changes are realistic and fit well with the plot. The characterization in this book is, overall, nicely done and there wasn't a single character that didn't engage me in some way. The plot was intriguing; although a bit slow at times, it really picked up at the end. In fact, I was totally immersed in the action towards the end and was quite surprised to see the story suddenly end. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing, as it made me want to read the next book. If this weren't meant to be a trilogy, I'd feel left cold by the ending. This story did exactly what a first book in a series should do- answered some questions, and left others unanswered (hopefully to be major plot points of the next book).
MT McGuire has a very quirky writing style, and uses some interesting phrasing in this book. This style would have been frustrating in a different type of book. Rather than detract from this book, however, it seemed to fit this strange new world with its strange occupants. There were some typos, most notably with punctuation marks, but not so many as to totally distract from the engaging storyline. I wish I could have seen a bit more into the other world briefly introduced, and its connection to this world, but I suspect we'll learn much more in the next installment.
Overall, a surprisingly good read, and a fun escape!
4 /5 stars
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