This is a richly developed medieval world with a wealth of cultures and characters presenting themselves along the way. The story centers on Yarvi, the reluctant, crippled [one arm is malformed] second prince of Gettland. But, he has his cunning and is aiming to renounce his nobility and position in line for the throne in order to join the Ministry, an esteemed class of adviser/healers. Circumstances quickly shift away from his plans and he finds himself a king, and then a lost king far from his homeland.
Yarvi perseveres through many challenges in the story while guided by the sayings of his many influences: his Ministry mentor Mother Gundring, his calculating birth-mother The Golden Queen Laithlin, his betrothed Isriun, and his battle-happy father the late King Uthrik among others. This is the journey of a boy without heavy responsibilities, becoming a man with people depending on him. His naivety is tested as he gathers a motley band of friends and aims to confront those that wrong his family. His greatest challenge is in determining friend and foe and all the shades in between. His second is getting out from under his birthright privilege to see the world through the eyes of others.
I really enjoyed this promising start to the Shattered Seas Series. I’m almost too embarrassed to admit that I’ve been sitting on this novel for the better part of a year without cracking it. I will not make the same mistake with the sequel that comes out this February.