Solid fantasy read with good world building and epic conflict between races. The pace was a nice meandering saga as characters developed. As much as I enjoyed it, I didn't like the cliffhanger ending or Ayden's immaturity and Freyrik's naiveté. Ayden's an 800 year old elf and he comes across as petulant at times. While Freyrik for the second in line to the throne is too compassionate and forgiving. Few respect the velvet without the iron fist but his rigorous schedule was more realistic of monarchial duties with it's neverending requests and consultations.