Ahh.... nice retreat back to high epic fantasy. It's all about intrigue, hack and slash, royal politics, overthrown houses, chivalry, cowardice, even tourneys!
So liking this. At first it was a "dive right in there" sort of world, they just start you out and plop you in the middle of the story, and things explain themselves as you go along. Not my favourite way to start a book, but definitely interesting. The beginning colours how you view the rest of the book as you're reading. You keep it in mind while you're watching the characters make judgements based on information they don't have.... that you do. So very like a mystery but crowded out with high fantasy. Totally loving it.
Sometimes the vocabulary is a bit... repetitive. I think he's used the word "gordet" way too many times. There's GOT to be another way to say "protective neck armor". I AM having to look up words, which is nice. Mostly ones that are "this author has a thesaurus and picked out a word for courageous that sounded more fantasy-y" (ie doughty).
Oh, then there's all the fantasy animals I've only sort of heard of, like direwolves and manticores and such. There's even an overshadowing of extinct-but-maybe-not dragons and all sorts of beasties that lurk in the shadows. Too much fun!
Anyway, I'm totally digging this series. I'm a bit bummed that it's only four(ish) books, but it's taking me a while to get through them, so I'll just enjoy them while I'm here.
Just to point out, each chapter is from the viewpoint of a different character, so you get everyone's story. It's similar to the way Terry Brooks handled the Sword of Shannara and Terry Goodkind wrote the Sword of Truth books. However this time it's formalized, with each character's name titling the chapter. I really kind of like this rigid form.
Speaking of Terry Goodkind, I plowed through the Terry Goodkind Sword of Truth books and I heard (saw) that the final book, the Confessor, is out. I'll be picking that up as soon as it's in paperback and will definitely blog it. I'm extremely interested in the ending. Every book in the series has had the same general structure - stuff is good, shit goes wrong, they work it out, shit might go bad again. I'm wondering how they'll end the cycle. Anyway, that's for the future.
I almost forgot! Game of Thrones even has the "highborn girl that doesn't want to be a lady, but a swordswoman". I LOVE those books! It's just about got EVERYTHING. Loving it!