I’m giving this book 1 star because I simply could not push my way through it. A loved one asked me to read it, so I wanted to give it a decent chance but 33% was all the exposition I could handle. This is my first attempt at a Hobb novel, so I don’t know if she always writes in first person but I’m baffled as to why she chose that narrative perspective for this story set in a land with a grand, epic history. There is so much historical information that the author feels is necessary for us to know before we get into the story proper, that the result is a sense of one step forward, seven steps back. Each “I recall” begets another, whether it be the recollection of the POV character himself, or in blocks of dialogue as another character instructs the POV character. This, basically structural, issue is a great pity because there was a hint that the magic in this novel would be something more interesting than the magic of the “not-quite-humans-beyond-the-kingdom/s” usually is, but that possibility wasn’t enough to keep me reading.