Justan is the son of a powerful warrior, Faldon the Fierce, someone he admires greatly. In his studies, to become a soldier, he lacks the necessary grades to graduate the training school and ends up being held back a further year. He is given a special tutor and we see him grow into a powerful opponent. Elsewhere, there are some important events happening in the world, several which might affect Justan in his journeys.
In the beginning, I found Justan to be a bit unbearable; he had a poor attitude. It kind of felt as if he didn’t want to be in the academy, despite his desperation to be there. He had complaints about almost all of the training. If he were being forced there, I could understand his problems, but he was the one who wanted to be attending the academy. He also treated others poorly and had little respect towards his mentors. However, after what you might call a “training montage”, he became somewhat more grateful to people and came to respect his mentors. He came to appreciate the training. I even found it quite interesting that he took much of the advice, despite still being sceptical of it. For example, the tuition in archery. Whilst he mocked the teacher for being whimsical and the lessons never amounting to anything, he actually took the advice of the teacher and found it helped.
I think Ma’am seems overly violent and angry sometimes. For example, though it’s only hearsay/ gossip, in chapter 17; one character notes that he almost got hit by her for simply asking her name. By no means is that the only event of her ill temper; it’s just one example. Kenn Dollie is one of two bullies against Justan. He, in Justan’s words is a “buffoon who fancied himself Academy material”. He mocks Kenn for failing a test. However, I thought that to be a bit hypocritical; he’s doing poorly in his own studies, so I feel that he has no right to judge. I felt that much of Kenn’s part in the book was a tad unnecessary and silly. The same can be said for Benjo, though it was obvious that he was somehow being manipulated by Kenn. Yes, Kenn turned out to be a violent, inappropriate person. However, a lot of his actions just didn’t make sense. He spent a lot of time obsessed with trying to get Justan to fail in studies. However, he must be wasting a ridiculous amount of time doing this, plus he was ruining his own reputation. It just doesn’t seem worthwhile to commit such offenses; you’re just wasting your own time. I just don’t understand why Kenn, Benjo, or anyone else, would bother with such revenge.
I think there were just too many characters overall; after the training academy bit is done, Justan heads off on another adventure and meets a whole lot more characters. In my notes of the book, there are far too many characters that we meet once or twice and then never witness again. After the training school, I lost track of the people Justan meets. Plus, we have alternating storylines with other characters intertwined. Much of it seemed a tad inane to me. Yes, I do appreciate that each of these people has their own feelings on situations, as well as personal problems. However, a lot of it just took away from the main plot lines. There were a lot of important items to consider as well; a lot of weapons and artefacts are bestowed with importance. Many of which don’t really have much part to play in the book. There was a lot of plot to get through, if I can be blunt. The author introduced a lot of storylines. Whilst they’re obviously going to be finished later on in the series, it just kind of seems a little disappointing that so much goes left unexplained for now.
Plus, a lot of scenes were kind of awkward and unnecessary. For example, Justan’s mother gives him a pair of rings. It’s meant to seem like a really important moment and these rings are obviously family heirlooms. Yet, several hours after this, he gives one away. It kind of made him seem ungrateful. I also didn’t feel as if the moonrats lived up to their titular connection. Yes, there were moonrats involved in the book, but I didn’t feel that they were important enough to name the entire book after them.
I would also like to point out that I’m not sure that the age group is accurate. In several portions, there are some quite violent scenes. Justan loses fingers and even becomes paralysed in some portions. Though he gets healed with the help of magic, I feel like some of the scenes are a bit too mature for some people.
Overall, I’m glad that I stayed with the book and didn’t give up- as I had been considering; due to Justan’s initial poor attitude. I feel as if he had a really good personality change; he found a lot of respect for others. I think that it’s a fairly original book and the author has given thought to the backgrounds and motives of many characters.
However, I don’t think that I would purchase another book in the series. Book one was fairly good, but I just feel like it’s a bit too complex for me. I think there are just too many people and a lot of plot to keep track of. I appreciate that he keeps going places and meeting new people, but I sometimes found it a bit difficult to follow. Especially considering that much of it felt a bit irrelevant to me.
I’m choosing to rate this book three stars. I feel like it was fairly well developed, but it’s not the type of book that I can easily flip through. I might re-read it later on in the future, just to see whether I can appreciate it more later on.
I obtained a free copy from Amazon.com.au and this is an honest review.