This is a fantasy epic on a large scale, comparable to the likes of Trudi Canavan and David Gemmell, where war and magic blends perfectly together. Sometimes it is even remniscent of Game of Thrones, in that there are so many characters and threads on the plot. Sometimes this can be confusing, but this book does not let that happen for long.
The story starts fairly slowly, building up each character and their backstory whilst also getting important aspects of the plot in place. Soon, though, the story gains momentum, with the magic really starting to come into play.
There is some really great storytelling here, with large battles and politics that interest you instead of bore you. I especially liked the complex allegiance of all of the characters and cities in Piaxia, as there is so much more to it than I originally thought. I loved the subterfuge and the amount of confusion, making it seems all the more real to me. There were some really clever parts that delighted me when I thought all was lost. One particular plot point was a little bit obvious to me, but nevertheless I was very pleased to finally find out that my hunch was correct.
The characters were really where the book came a little bit unstuck. Although I liked and understood all of the protagonists, and thought their growth was excellent, I didn't truly feel much of a connection to them. If some had died, I wonder if I would have cared. I certainly didn't when other characters died who seemed quite important. Developing this would have definitely given more impact to certain plot elements. However, it wasn't horrendously important to me, as I enjoyed the book all the same.
I am pleased to say that there is a book after this one, named Demon Stones (which I have already reviewed), which is based in this same world, some years into the future. While that book was very good and rather riveting, I honestly feel that this one was better.
The Brotherhood of Piaxia on Goodreads