I really liked this book but for several reasons I couldn't like it enough to 'go the whole hog' and empower it with divinity. By which I mean to tattoo a five star rating onto this review and ward off all book demons.
I loved the pacing of this book. I loved the very idea of this book. I loved the tone of this book. I loved the shape of this book. I really appreciated the way Peter V. Brett was able to take ideas used before and turn them into something new somehow.
However I had a personal problem with the character of Leesha in the book. The problem lies in her sexuality. First she vows to marry as a virgin and like her teacher Bruna she despises oathbreakers. Years pass and she hasn't slept with anyone. Then she needs to get somewhere and she almost gives herself to a greedy messenger as an act of semi-prostitution. Then it's implied she was raped on the road to another town, which is tragic. I have no problem with her up to this point mostly. She's a victim of everything. However then after being rescued by The Painted Man she sleeps with him. This is of course all completely out of character and seems to serve the whole 'author fantasy' aspect of fantasy. 'I want to get these two characters together so I will.' Of course I can't really criticise since the rest of the book is so good but it was a lowlight and coming at the end it damaged my memory of the book.
My other problem is that she seemed really shallow in her actions. She hated her licentious mother but in the end did she become like her in a way? My main problem was her sleeping with the Painted Man because it seemed so against all she claimed to stand for. She became an oathbreaker then and only then. Beforehand others around her had been the oathbreakers. It was as if she had sold her virtue and morals and I don't like it when anyone does that. And before that moment I had even thought her admiral for surviving all her ordeals and helping others.
I also had a slight problem with the way the author cut in and out of different times. One instant I was reading Arlen leave a town the next it was three years later and he was in the dessert. Which proved slightly distracting in the overall frame of grasping what was going on.
But apart from personally being annoyed and perturbed by such actions I really enjoyed this book. It was fast it was fun and it was on the whole well written. It was nothing at the level of some authors but well above the level of others. And I am very glad that Peter V. Brett wrote this book because it made my birthday that much greater finally finishing this work. I look forward anxiously to the sequel.