As Sigmund Brouwer's attempt at a teen fantasy novel, The Orphan King is a definite home run. I began reading with high expectations, and I was not disappointed.
There are elements of suspense and intrigue, a little bit of action (not nearly enough for my taste), and a few faint glimmerings of romance. On top of that, it is fun to read and well-written.
As the first book in the Merlin's Immortals series, it is a successful beginning. I believe it is related or, in some way, based upon some of Brouwer's previous novels (Magnus, and Wings of Dawn). There is, however, nothing to indicate that anything is missing from the story because of this.
Character development is good and vocabulary has not been dumbed down to suit "younger" readers.
My one complaint about The Orphan King is that it is too short. 213 pages makes for quick reading. I really wanted the story to go on for a good bit longer. Future readers needn't fear though, because the sequel Fortress of Mist is due to release in February of 2013. Be warned, however, of the first chapter of the next book (at the end of book 1). I have been on pins and needles since reading it, and will be so until I get my hands on the new book.
(Note: I would have liked to learn a little bit more about the Druids, who were spoken of, but not really explained, as to who they are. Hopefully they will be discussed more fully in future books.)
I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
Read more about this book here: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=216906