I'm more conflicted about this book than any of the others I've read for the SPFBO this year. On one hand, it's by far the grandest and most complex in scope, story, and world, all well-told, nicely written, and lushly described. I'd almost go as far to say it's as sweeping a story as A Game of Thrones, with a dash of Thomas Covenant and maybe some Black Sails thrown in. We follow a panoply of characters of various species and races with a variety of strengths and magical powers on a venture to save a dying land, battling against truly frightening and dangerous foes. On the other hand, there's not a character among them who, for me, was easy to empathize with or root for - they're all despicable with few if any redeeming qualities. I'm an acknowledged fan of the grimdark fantasy sub-genre, but this is grimdark with a capital GRIM. I thoroughly enjoyed it for the story, but had a hard time wanting to follow the characters - if that makes any sense. Still, I was compelled to read it first page to last, and you might just absolutely love it.