A slim book that's full of adventure, it was a quick read that in some ways felt too slight, but only because it had so much substance in other ways. Jones has creating an intriguing world of which we only scratch the surface, interesting characters that we could definitely spend more time getting to know better, and an engaging, action-centered plot that we speed through at breakneck pace, reaching the end all too quickly. So my main complaint is that I liked the book so much that I wanted there to be more of it. It's a very accessible story for young and reluctant readers, while I suspect those used to denser fare may be similarly left wanting. Luckily, it's a series, so as a whole that shouldn't be a problem.
My favorite aspect of the book was the writing, as Jones has a deft, fluid way with words and language. He doesn't pander at all with his vocabulary choices and uses a rich storytelling voice:
"He let out a low gasp as the windship sailed closer. A town--a tumbledown, ramshackle shantytown--clung around the vast aperture like some kind of horrible fungus. The dilapidated buildings grew out of the rock face, one hovel atop another, the buildings crushed together, misshapen and constricted, as though struggling for space. All of them were shabbily constructed from rotten timbers and crumbling stonework and ill-laid bricks."
The rich language is not alienating, though, since it is playful and fun and the story contains plenty of humor. Though I don't really have time, I'm sorely tempted to immediately read the rest of the series.
Sandered Lands book 1 is the same as The Six Crowns book 1. Same story, different titles.
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