I read this and it left me feeling -- eh. There wasn't really enough character development to make me care about the story or the people in it.
After reading Sorcery and Cecelia, I wanted to read another of this author's books; the library had this one and so it was the first. Pretty good, but not quite up there with S&C. There was only one line that really made me laugh (quite silly and unstopably for several minutes) and the action drug on a bit. Plus I didn't think as much of the epilogue was needed. But it was definitely better than a lot of things I've read in the past - just not on the excellent side.
This had been recommended to me, but I can't really do the same. The plot development was fairly poor and the ending felt truly rushed, as if the author could spend hours writing about grinding pigments and melting iron but could only right small notes about the battlefield.
The concept of it was interesting and the world involved (a nearly post-Renaissance European world mixed with a bit of magic and a few locale alterations) was very unique. I just felt that the story could not keep up with the scope involved.
It's an average story featuring an average cast and the few characters I wanted to learn more about...well, I never did. Which was disappointing to the extreme.
This book was OK but nowhere near as good as A College of Magics or A Scholar of Magics. And there is nothing to tie it to the other books in the series except for the setting. I didn't think the author did as good a job with character development in this book, and I found it hard to really care about Hail the way I did about the main characters in the other books. And I came away from the book feeling like I hadn't totally understood what it was about. If I had read this book before I read College and Scholar, I might not have read them at all because I wouldn't have been all that impressed by the author.
This was a better than average fantasy book. If you like books by Patricia McKillip, you will probably like this one too, as the atmosphere was similar. I thought the book was a little slow to get started, but part of that was the author setting up the background. Once the story really got going, it was a quick read. This is set in the same location as A Scholar of Magic, but in a different time, so there is a shared geography, but no shared characters that I noticed. (I actually haven't finished A Scholar of Magic yet.) The main character is not always aware of everything going on and since the story is told in first person, the reader isn't aware either, but although the story took unexpected turns, I thought the ending was satisfactory.