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. :-)
This book had all the elements that I normally like: magic, good fantasy world building, political intrigue, and some romance....but despite all of that I did not enjoy it as much as I would have liked.
Things I enjoyed:
1. The magic in the world was interesting. I like when there is a magic system that not only had benefits, but at least shows there is a cost of the magic as well. The concept of the witches is good. They can perform magic, but it involves a sacrifice of blood and takes a lot of out them. It takes as much as it gives. The introduction of the other magic with the sorcerers kind of muddled it a bit, but overall it was good. I also enjoyed the twist in the story of how the 2 goddesses come to be. It is always interesting to see how stories are changed for the purpose of worship. Myths and legends are born that may not be even close to the truth.
2. The world building was simple, that had it problems because at time it was a bit too simplistic, but I thought overall that the 3 lands and the differences between them, political issues shown well and gave me enough information for me to get an idea of the motivation of the people and what drove them to certain actions. It helped that as the book progressed, more and more was revealed about the 3 lands and the mythology. That gave the lands and history a bit more richness.
3. The enjoyed the over all plot of the story: one foolish event caused by carelessness and hubris is used as an excuse to launch a bigger, and even more destructive action. War, pursuit of more and more power, and world domination...and the people who are used in the pursuit of these goals. In that way it was similar to Game of Thrones as the blurb says, but it is no Game of Thrones
1. The characters, to me, were too flat and one dimensional...with one exception: Magnus Damora. I found this character to be the most compelling. He was a mixture of vulnerability and fear; hate and love and he is constantly in battle with himself between his lighter and darker selves. I enjoyed him. But the rest of the characters were just too predictable and flat.
Cleo: the spunky Princess that does what she wants. She spends most of the book bumbling her way into tragedy and I am supposed to like it and do in a way, but mostly I just find her predictable. Just like the fact that every male character is in love with her is boring and predictable. Many suffer from lack of development and motivation because they are just devices for her. I complain when female characters suffer this fate for the male lead....so I will complain for the males as well. It's just bad form.
Theon: his storyline line with Cleo had a lot of potential, but I felt like it was not developed at all and just rushed. By the time it reaches the climax it seems to come from nowhere and make their scenes just lack emotion. I felt nothing. I like to see the relationships between characters develop; this way I at least have an understanding of what they see in each other, what draws them towards each other. I felt like Theon was just a plot device to further Cleo's and what looks to be another character's story line later in the story. Which one is hard to tell by the end of the book.
But rather than go through my problems with every character the overall complaint is that they were too rushed, too one dimensional and due to that I could not really "feel" them. It's the only way I can say it. So I could not invest fully in the narrative.
So lots of potential....just a bit short of it.