I was asked by the author to read this book for an honest review due to books I have already read and rated.
Firstly I have to say A. C. F. Crawford writes beautiful descriptions. The setting has parallels with South America at the turn of the last century. Issues of race and religion are raised and Crawford painted such beautiful descriptions of the area it was easy to imagine this. I felt as if I was there, he also writes such wonderful descriptions of the boats and ships it is obvious this is an area of which he has vast knowledge.
Secondly the author writes fabulous action scenes. It is so easy to picture the action, the fighting, the plots - again I would say the author has a good knowledge of that which he is writing.
Ytzak, the protagonist, is definitely a good guy (despite bare knuckle fighting and killing people) and I was most definitely rooting for him through the whole book. The plot lines were interesting and well thought through - though on this point I would have preferred that the fist storyline ran into the second, there was definitely potential for this to happen (the 'villain' of the first storyline is not known to be dead or alive) and it would have upped the tension and added some consistency between two separate stories.
I wasn't very keen on the plot device of having Yztak's story being told second hand. As we are with Yztak for the main bulk of the story it would have worked just as well simply as his story - unless, as the ending is obviously set up for a second book, the reasoning for this becomes more apparent in the second book. It had flavourings of Rothfuss's King-killer chronicles, where the protagonist is re-telling his story. In Rothfuss's case it works, I'm not convinced it does here, though will hold full judgement until after the next book, as it wasn't something that would put me off the book.
I did enjoy this book, my one complaint as I was reading it though was that I would like more emotion - it's all quite 'told' rather than shown/felt. Yztak faces all these disasters and though we are told - in beautiful language - how he is feeling, I wanted to feel it myself with him. If Crawford could work at adding emotions more in this or future books I feel it would add immensely to an already well written book.