*Book provided by the author for an honest review.
Dayraven has been a prisoner in a foreign land for 15 years. The day of his return he is disappointed. His emperor is a feeble old man who is forgetting to set the empire up for the next passing of power. Every few centuries, Akhen, the sun god, takes the form of a human, revealing himself on their 30th birthday. The next "unmasking" is only 15 years away and there are those who would use the unmasked for their own purposes. Dayraven must join with Sunniva to solve the riddles and figure out who the next Face of Akhen will be before others do.
For such a short book, there sure is a lot of story in these pages. The PDF I received had the book spanning less than 200 pages (I'm not counting the snippet of the next book). Yet in that short amount of time, Flynn was able to write up an engaging, enjoyable book. The puzzles were an excellent way of building the world, the most culturally based ones being at the start of the book. The reader gets to learn about cultural icons and whatnot while Dayraven and Sunniva work out what they mean the puzzle context.
The story doesn't leave a lot of time for character development so much as character establishment, which makes sense, it's the first installment. Every chapter is told from another character's perspective and include a lot of flashbacks relevant to the character and the situation. But throughout the book, we mostly get an establishing of character rather than character growth. Except for Twister, he gave me quite the twist! At first I thought he would be the Gollum of the story, but by the end of it I just wanted something, anything good to happen to the poor guy. I really appreciated getting his perspective of things.
Really my only complaint about this book is the love story between Dayraven and Sunniva. Then again, I've never been much of a fan of love stories, especially not when I'm reading an adventure and puzzle heavy book. I get why they get together and appreciate that even they recognize how quickly they're falling, but still, not my cup of tea.
There were times when I wanted to compare the book to The Davinci Code, what with a secret kept safe by Guardians that were killed and only able to pass on the secret through a series of puzzles. But this book takes place in a very different world and has very different power dynamics. This is its own world.
I really had fun reading this book and am really looking forward to the next. If you're interested in a new adventure read, I recommend you pick up a copy (it'll be coming out November 25). 4 hoots!