two very wrong ideas before starting this book. First: it being a 280 page fantasy, I had no doubt it would be fast paced and action packed. Truth is, this book is far from it. Almost half of this book is about five men on a road trip, two of which I couldn't tell apart. The problem is, Turner spends too much time setting the scene and describing the surrounding, that I was tempted to skip the insignificant paragraphs. And that is something coming from someone who does NOT skip while reading. That also made my eyes glaze over any future description, that during important action scenes, I had no idea where the characters were.
The second, is that I expected a lot more plot twists and snark from a book narrated by a thief. In all fairness, those wishes were granted, but that was in the very few pages. The plot twist at the end is indeed well done, but it just didn't make up for the other 240 boring pages.
Almost every review I heard says to give the second book a chance, even if you thought this one was merely okay. Apparently, the second book in this series is the cat's meow. Would I pick it up? Probably, but I'm not so excited about it. Don't get me wrong, I liked Gen, the MC. He was fun and different, and most important of all, didn't pretend to be heroic. I like a character that spill their thoughts out unfiltered. It makes it easier to connect with them. Plus, he was pretty manipulative, and if you know me at all, you know that's the key to sell me on a book.
Apart from Gen, however, is where the story went dry. Basically, there are four other main characters: the Magus, Pol, Ambiades, and Sophos. Yup, that's right, an all-men show. Not that I mind, though. My biggest problem was how similar Ambiades and Pol sounded to me at first. Both very tough, hardened, and skilled in weaponry. For a big part of the book, I couldn't tell them apart. Sophos I liked (I couldn't for the life of me picture him as anyone but Lancel Lannister.) He was a shy, sweet guy, and a breath of fresh air amongst the other men. The Magus, aka the leader of the bunch, was sending me very mixed signal. Was he supposed to be mean, or powerful? Because I didn't feel either. To be honest, he was somewhat sappy towards the end, and I didn't like that. I don't know, it just felt out of character.
People seem to love this series, and Megan Whalen Turner. While I didn't feel her writing, I must admit this is a well written book. Every aspect from the world building to the mythology was done really well.
Final Word: I'm definitely the odd one out when it comes to this book. Most people who read it seem to have positive reviews, but for the reasons mentioned above, I was so-so.