I found this book very easy to get into as straight away we are pulled into the innermost thoughts and emotions of the main character. We see him struggle to decide between his desire for something more exciting than palace life and his duties as a son of the King, even if he is only the last in a line of 7 brothers. The many characters he journeys with, and those who he meets along the way are diverse. The author manages to carefully blend relatable traits with a unique twist to make them highly interesting people to read about. They all exhibit weaknesses along with strengths - this forms a perfect base to work from because as we watch the story unfold they must overcome these weaknesses in order to succeed.
David Zindell has created a rich fantasy world filled with many different people, customs and beliefs. His writing enhances these qualities by being descriptive and vivid without succumbing to overly complex and meaningless sentences. He uses minstrels' songs to provide the reader with history of the land as well as pieces of the Lightstone's prophecy. While most of these were very good, at times I groaned at seeing yet another verse and would have preferred the words to be plain dialogue instead.
I loved how the story progressed in the first half of the book; there was always a level of excitement or anxiety as well as numerous surprises that I could not have anticipated. However the second half of the book slowed down and everything seemed to come too easily for the hero. I think that perhaps the author became too obsessed with detail and felt the need to write everything that happened rather than focus on the important sections.
'The Lightstone' is part 1 of the book 'The Ninth Kingdom' and it failed to have a proper ending which leads me to believe that it should probably have continued on with part 2 in order to give a satisfactory conclusion. Overall a very good book set in a completely new and original fantasy world. I am going to overlook the slowness of the second half and read the next book to find out exactly how the seven gelstei are linked to the prophecy and the Lightstone. I only hope that the author can keep the pace up until the end.
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