I'm really struggling to express how much I enjoyed this book. As far as fantasy goes, this book has a certain nerdy, coolness factor to it that I can't quite describe... it's like Staveley went around and asked everyone what their favourite parts of fantasy were, cut the bullshit and created a masterpiece. The three main story lines are based around, political intrigue, a mysterious group of monks and an elite group of assassins who ride giant birds.
I really want to fan girl about Valyn so Ill try keep this next bit logical. All three main characters are excellent, and develop well throughout the story as they struggle in their respective fields but it was definitely Valyn who really stood out to me. There's a point within his story where Staveley places two paths before him. The typical heroes path, or the darker antihero sort of story. I'm struggling to explain with out giving away too many spoilers here but just as you think you know where everything is heading things aren't so black and white. It's brilliant. Gritty, dark, heartbreaking and full of vengeance.
I cannot recommend this book enough. I can't fault it. I became so invested in the story all I can think about now is reading it again. If you love fantasy, go read this. If you don't like fantasy, go read this cause it just might change your mind.
Favourite. Book. Ever.
Yeah I went there.