Synopsis (taken from book cover):
When a high-ranking officer gallops into the quiet Mistyvales, he brings a warning that shakes the countryfolk to their roots. But for Aedan, a scruffy young adventurer with veins full of fire and a head full of ideas, this officer is not what he seems. The events that follow propel Aedan on a journey that only the foolhardy or desperate would risk, leading him to the gates of the nation’s royal academy – a whole world of secrets in itself.
But this is only the beginning of his discoveries. Something is stirring in the land, something more ominous than the rising threat of hostile nations. Fearful travelers whisper of an ancient power breathing over Thirna, changing it, waking it. In the very heart of these stirrings, Aedan encounters that which defies belief, leaving him speechless with terror – and wonder.
Usually, I subtract one star if a story isn’t finished, and this absolutely needs a sequel, but it was such a great story that I deviate from my own rule.
It’s a powerful story about all sorts of things, and although there is a war in the making, something else seems to be happening, too, as the title says.
We don’t know what it is, but it could be something grand, not disastrous.
It’s one of the rare fantasy novels where no magic is involved, and none is needed.
What is needed is training, perseverance, and skills.
I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in Aedan’s education, his struggles, his weaknesses, and his strengths — and at times I could have shaken him — then again, his friends were there to help him do the right things.
Aedan is a strategic mastermind, but has to learn that theory and practice are very different.
I love the idea that the education doesn’t just comprise weapon skills, but all other aspects, too, be they boring or not.
I like the idea of getting to know not only different languages, but cultures and traditions, too. This should be mandatory for every school, imo, maybe then there wouldn’t be so much war and hatred in this world, most of which is based on ignorance.
Aedan has to overcome his hatred and prejudices in order to learn about his enemies, and I hope I won’t have to wait for a whole year or longer to find out how he’ll cope.
Tim Gerard Reynolds does another perfect job at narrating this story. When listening to him, I’m really deep into the story and out of this world.
He was the perfect choice for the book, and I hope he’ll be commissioned to narrate any sequel.