At first, I hated this book. Couldn't get into it. The main character is a bore, the plot is soooooo Narnia/Covenant/Harry Potter it was mostly fan-fiAt first, I hated this book. Couldn't get into it. The main character is a bore, the plot is soooooo Narnia/Covenant/Harry Potter it was mostly fan-fiction. The writing was uneven, one moment beautiful language, next apparently written by a 9-year-old boy. As it is YA fiction, it suffered a lót of the 9-year-old writer tone, by the way. So, I put the book down, wrote it off as "not for me" and went on to better books.
But then I watched the TV series. And while that wasn't particularly great, it piqued my interest. Mainly because of Julia's backstory (which in the books is only told in the second book), which is a lot more interesting than Quintins. So I decided to give it another try. This time I was able to look beyond the bad/uneven writing, beyond the annoying "Thomas Convenant-ish unlikeable whiney boy" and had an inkling of the full story beyond the Narnia fanboying. Glimpses of potential. The flame caught, I managed to read ánd finish the book. And, to be fair, was very eager to jump right into the second book.
Now, after having read all three books, I have to say that Lev is a terrible writer in the first book, but he really has potential and grows a lót in his writing in the next two books. So hang in there, it gets better. It even reminds me a little bit of Jim Butcher/Dresden. The first books of that series are fairly poorly written as well, but go one to be one powerhouse of a series. Lev has that potential. No he isn't in the same league as Butcher. Not by far. But when he can get beyond his Narnia-crush, he is quite good at painting interesting fantasy realms and the magic system.
This first book is barely 2 stars, but shows a lot of promise, and is necessary for the way better other two books, so hang in there....more