Hidden away in a tower, there is a wooden box, engraved with an ugly carving of a hawk. Sealed shut by magical forces, its owner has no idea what's inside, but is determined to open it. Equally determined to get his hands on this box, a mysterious stranger hires a group of thieves to steal the box. Jute is the right boy for the job, bypassing magical wards and making his way through the house to retrieve the box. But things don't go quite as planned when he unexpectedly opens the lid and touches the object inside. Now he's on the run and has to decide who he can trust...can he trust the voice he now hears in his head, or is that another trick?
The first book in the "Tormay Trilogy" by Christopher Bunn, this intriguing story is full of magical spells, wizards, and evil darkness. With a fluid, engaging writing style that matches the genre of book nicely, this story takes us on an adventure through this magical kingdom. The ending nicely sets up the second book in the trilogy, tying up only the most general of threads so we are compelled to look to the next book to find out more.
With a bevy of unique and interesting characters, you really become interested in the backstories of each character. You get the feeling they are all connected in some way, but very few of those connections are made clear in this installment. I would have liked a little more closure and a little more direction as to the connections between all these characters. At times, it seemed there were too many to keep up with, and without those connections it's sometimes hard to keep track of them. You just get into one character's story when you are introduced to another, and another, and another. Jute seems to be the main character, but I wanted more information on his connection to the hawk. I also wanted more backstory on Levoreth; much is hinted, and it's enough to make you really wonder who she is, exactly, and what she can do. Although I think the set up for the second book is good, I just wanted more satisfaction in this first book with regards to the information gained. It's definitely piqued my interest!
Overall, a really good first installment, one that prepares you for the second in the series from this talented author.
4 /5 stars
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