I just love this book--even when it looks like it's about to make a misstep, it instead works some magic! for instance, it seemed obvious who was embezzling from Demion's business, and, as it turned out, the "unmasking" did lead to Mr. Obvious. but the scene with Katriona (a wonderfully charismatic female character) confronting the creep is done with such wit and style (and alchemy) that it doesn't matter that some little whodunit scenario wasn't part of it. and there was a really cool little twist at the end of the scene, anyway, that had nothing to do with sacking the thief, but just completed the whole scene to perfection (dialogue is still so fine, at great moments. at all moments). and if the only other nit-pick was a lack of action sequences (a minor quibble, because the story rides on so much other good stuff), we finally get a little combat...a seemingly meaningless but entertaining one-on-one dust-up that hints at some great future fights to come. I'm just so happy to have risked this book!
a Fantasy novel--a series opener, in fact--that does not feature much action, certainly no military campaigns or battles, and also does not bother to ground us in the realm via a master mentoring an apprentice for at least a hundred pages; and we haven't even had the launch of the titular ship. but, what has been presented has been an absolutely riveting alternative, as the pages fly by, to my rapture. I suppose there's still lots of room for this to suck...but that potential dead space just gets filled, chapter after chapter, with great characters spewing terrific dialogue, sudden surprises (oh, the dog talks; oh, she doesn't love him; oh, he's a god (oh, if only Orson Welles were around to play Eliturion!)), and travels to strange, wonderful, remote places (the Gates of The World are wonderful to envision, and I just bet it's a locale full of potential oddstuff). I don't know who "K. M. McKinley" is, but keep going, author.
I love this! fascinating characters, these Kressind siblings; it looks like Trassan, with his crazy "Iron Ship" plans, will ultimately be the star of the show--but Guis has been instantly entertaining, as he battles an inner moroseness that, if it swells in his soul too much, unleashes a Darkling (shadow creature), that can be fought off by that other weird thing that lives in Guis's hair. yes, things have been that fun.