I didn't expect to like this book all that much, it seems to be too easy to read for its own good. I usually like to struggle a little bit to come to terms with a book so that I feel like a solid relationship has been formed. Books which are easy to read from page one where no effort is needed to understand the settings or the characters tend to be quickly forgettable. Fortunately not the case with this book. The protagonist (Arlen) becomes more complex and interesting as the books goes on. The "magic system" is not wildly original but quite interestingly employed. What is perhaps missing is an intimidating main nemesis (Boss Monster in games term) though not having a Dark Lord is a nice change. The book is not free of fantasy tropes and cliches though. A scene near the end even reminds me of the movie Braveheart. Still, at the end of the day this is a very entertaining and often gripping fantasy novel. I have already bought book #2 "The Desert Spear".