I never know to say in these things. I guess that says something about me. I read a lot, write stories, and like books. I like a good debate. Nothing else is to say. :-)
I have not read a straight fantasy like this is a while, and it was a nice change from the romance and Urban fantasy. One thing I love the most about fantasy books is the world building. I am fascinated by the different world and creatures, and universes people can create in their minds. The human imagination is something to behold. Fantasy is the ultimate escape, and these days...I need an escape from reality every so often. Fallon does a great job in world building. Amyrantha is fully realized, with its history and legends and different people and cultures..I have no trouble believing it might exist somewhere.
When it comes to the characters, Fallon, excels as well. Arkady, is something you struggle to find sometimes in fantasy: a real, strong female character. Usually the females in fantasy are some version of a males fantasy of what a woman is about: they are either overly sexualized; pure, boring maidens or major unlikeable bitches. No in between. The fact that Fallon is a woman might help here. I always wonder what it is that woman can write good, believable male characters...but the opposite can't always be said? Arkady is a intelligent, likable woman who does her best to survive in a world where woman don't have much choices. She wants more than anything to be taken seriously and not as just a pretty trinket, but circumstances don't always work out as she plans. Her marriage is a result of her placing more value on her head than her heart, and her struggle through this book is always between those forces.
Stellan, the Duke and Arkady's husband, is also an example of someone doing their best in a society that expects people to perform and stick to the roles given to them. His desires don't always match what society expects from him, but he does his best to put on the appearance that he fits in. He and Arkady share a loving relationship that I enjoyed, and understood. They are very loyal to each other and keep each other secrets. He is also rather likable and I find myself rooting for him.
Now to the title character. Now he was interesting. One of the "Gods" of the land. Gods that most people now think are just myths and foolish children's stories. But not everyone as we find out. Some people have expected the Gods to come back, and have been preparing for it. Cayal serves as the storyteller in this tale. He provides much of the history and backstory of the Gods and how they came to be, at least according to him...since he is telling his personal story there is no telling what he is leaving out or adding to it. From him we see just so terrifying these Gods are, and not only because of the power they can wield...but because they are so human. For people that have lived so long...life and death no longer have the same meaning. Cynicism and boredom is their enemy and the ways they find entertainment are not always healthy for people around them. Cayal when we meet him has had enough and is on a quest to find a way to end it all..one way or another...we wants to die.
All in all this first book sets up the series well, and get the action going to the next books. It had some good surprises and I expect many more to come. It was intriguing enough to get me to look forward to the rest.