Disclaimer: Received this from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Rating: 2.5 stars. It was better than okay, but I don't have a strong enough sense of "like" to fully commit to the 3 stars "I liked it!" rating. A little quote to start this off, from one of my favorite movies, The Princess Bride:Grandfather: "Does it have action? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, True Love, miracles!" Grandson:"Doesn't sound too bad; I'll try and stay awake." In this case, both the grandfather and the grandson would be correct. This book dragged for me.The cover is enticing. You see "the Mongrel", King Jachad of the Nomas, and one of the flying mounts of the Norlanders, a triffon soaring above them. It really sets you up for a good, epic fantasy tale. So why the lukewarm rating?It's hard to pinpoint it. Obviously reviews are very subjective; things that work for others may not work for me and vice versa. There is SO much going on in this book. You have the Norlanders aka the Dead Ones, the Shadari, the Nomas, key players, little jerkwads, pissing contests among the soldiers, etc. and a whole bunch of history that just...didn't come together very well for me. That's not to say that there isn't a story line there, it's just that with the POV switching every few moments I thought it felt incredibly disjointed. You have these relationships that could be explored a bit more, but instead you get snatches of feelings or conversations here and there. There isn't a big aha! reveal moment or anything that feels quite conclusive. However, that is not to say that the book didn't end. It did and with room for a sequel or two. And I did find the personalities of the characters well-developed. I had instant loathing from single conversations, an intense dislike for another, mediocre "meh" emotions towards one of the Norlanders, and a moment or two of absolute rage where I wanted to strangle or slap a character. The tale continues in the next book, "Fortune's Blight" - and that alone should tell you who the next tale is about. However, I thought this first book fell short of its title and the character it should have focused around. She was the target as the antagonist, but you only ever see her in snippets, and all of those snippets are wrathful, sneering, or jaded and all lack explanation. Despite my lukewarm reaction, I have a feeling that this will get 5 star reviews from people who adore everything that tries to be epic fantasy. There is action and heartbreak (I disliked that kid, Dramash, but at the same time pitied him) and sword fights and vengeance. Thank you very much, TOR, for the read!