I know, I know. This book has been out for what? A decade? And me a fantasy reader from way back in the beyond, so whats taken me so long to read this series? But I am reading it, at last, and I'm enjoying it.
It isn't epic fantasy in the tradition of Tolkien. More like...Robin Hood, maybe? Seregil, one of the main characters, is your basic swashbuckler/master of disguise. I know. Those two should be mutually exclusive, but somehow, in this book, anyway, they are not. I'm around a quarter of the way into the book and am finding this character delicately balanced on the knife edge of selfish indifference and paternally overprotective as of his young and clueless apprentice, Alec, whom iveheard is supposed to be his love interest eventually. But I've also been told to be patient on that.
We all know that's one of my strongest traits...so not!
And Alec. What is there to say about Alec? He's just stepped over the threshold of manhood. Barely. Seventeen, I think he told Seregil was his age, and newly orphaned (can he be an orphan if he's practically a man?) so he's a man-child of exceedingly naive proportions, and they, he follows Seregil around with nary a twinge of doubt or contemplation over the 'bard's' many disguises, his skill with weapons or ability to bust them both out of a torture dungeon and be away before dawn. And at the same time, the kid can shoot a bow, skin a rabbit, ride a horse, sing, track, guide and do any number of things with confidence and skill. Do I sound tongue in cheek? I might be, a little bit.
I don't dislike these characters. Don't think that. I like them both as long as I remember to embrace their epic, bigger-than-life qualities. It's been a long time since I read a fantasy novel, i tend to forget, at times, I'm not reading one of my many contemporary paranormal or real world gay love stories. The characters are meant to be competent, intelligent people with the ability to learn and develop necessary skills for survival. They don't have to be tragically flawed just because that's what seems to have become the norm in the books I often read lately. They are allowed to be completely capable men who don't balk when asked to step outside their comfort zone.
Still. The author in me who loves to torture her own characters would like to see one of them stumble and fall on his face. Just once. Promise I won't laugh....much.....
But don't let my assessment steer you away. Remember, this is just my opinion of a book I'm still reading, and despite my remarks about the characters seeming perfection, I do like both men and I'm enjoying the read quite a bit.