This is a bit different sort of fantasy. At least in the Finnish message boards people are clamouring for fantasy that doesn’t have princes or generals or Chosen Ones as the MCs. Well, here is exactly what they would want: Valder is an ordinary scout in an army before he gets a magic sword by accident. Still, even with the sword he doesn’t want to be a ruler or shaper of the world. He just wants to do his duty preferably without killing anyone.

Also, even though there is a war going on, he doesn’t influence it greatly; he’s just one soldier among many. After the war ends, he does leave military life behind and settles down in a non-violent profession.

Valder is perhaps one of the most likable soldier characters I’ve come across. Also, even though he’s 23 when the book starts (yeah, not a teenager anymore but young even though by the standards of fantasy MCs he’s almost ancient) this isn’t a growing up book. No Dark Lords, no MC romance, no teenager squabbles, a magic sword without an intruction book to the various enchantments in it… A very good book indeed! Although the end is a bit mushy. 😉

Watt-Evans’ style isn’t too wordy but not sparse either. While I wasn’t immediately addicted to him I’m very likely to get another book by him. I was lead to expect an almost Pratchett-type book but those people where wrong. While Watt-Evans has a humorous undertone there are only a couple of very funny moments.