I thoroughly enjoyed this single-point-of-view tale. It begins with the introduction of a staggering drunk as the main character—a not entirely likable character, but the reader can sympathize with him—and journeys with him to his surprising new position in the world. This advancement doesn’t come to Errol Stone easily; he has physical and emotional demons to overcome while he’s being chased by poison- and blade-toting villains. He makes some incredible faux pas, and he also does exactly the opposite. There is a lot going on his world that he doesn’t know or understand. Carr handles the mystery well, and the reader learns as Errol learns. This doesn’t prevent the revelation of several subplots that keep the action and suspense going—and the story is wonderfully complex.
The end is a little shaky, but not abysmal. It didn’t keep me from moving directly on to Book 2. The intriguing epilogue definitely helped in that respect.
Criticisms? There are a few typos and confusions about direction, number, and who a character is talking to — enough to make me read the passages twice, but not enough (by any means) to ruin the story. The book does have a virulent case of Comma Splicing, which I find annoying in general but, again, not enough to ruin the story. And… naming conventions are inconsistent, with some taken straight from our world, some slightly modified (Morgols, Soedes, Basqu — and Finn Maccol), and some original. What was going on there? Did I miss something?
Those nit-picking concerns aside, the book is a wonderful page-turner. Clean, gore-free (in spite of fight scenes), and an all-around good read.