This book is a middle-grade fantasy story by Sage Blackwood. This means it’s really written for 11-13/14 year olds, but I would actually put it at a pretty solid 4/5 for adults too. It was enjoyable, if not the most “mature content.” It’s approach to relationships is perfect for a budding teenager and I found it fun as an adult.
There are some really good parts of this book, and I like the mythos he built up. There is a little bit of Mary Sue (Gary Stu) where the protagonist is “kind of amazing” but Blackwood tempers it enough that I don’t mind it. There are a few stark moments where our “hero” is vastly non-heroic even though he can learn all the languages, all the magic and meet all the important people.
In the first book my biggest critique is that it is quite slow to start. He needs to cover like 8 years with enough that we get invested in the boy, but not so much we spend an entire book there. It’s a hard balance and I understand why Blackwood might have missed that mark a little bit. It’s my only strong critique of the book, so all said that should tell you something. He struggles with a grey area and landed on slightly the wrong for me. I imagine for many people they would disagree on which side of that he landed on.
I really liked how tight the plot of this series was. Blackwood was good and bringing things back that you thought were long-buried in the pages. And in the best of little side-plot twists, it could surprise you.