From the beginning, the author does a fantastic job of setting the scene. His descriptions of the world of Tholann are vivid and full of depth throughout, wasting no time in immersing the reader into this strange new world.
Likewise, his development of the races on Tholann is similarly detailed and imaginative; from the towering Jikhquae women, down to the tiny squirrel-like Rethe, Patrick shows you the planets population in vibrant detail.
The premise is typical fantasy fare, with a protagonist that is pushed out of his normal life in order to fulfill a quest that is vital to the world. The story moves at a steady pace, with a good mix of dialogue, action, and world-building. I found myself staying up a few nights to finish an extra chapter or two, which is one of my hallmarks for a good book, and I finished the whole thing in three days.
This brings me to the only area that left me feeling flat. This book felt too long to be a short story, but far too short to be the first book of an epic fantasy series. As the first in a series, I can appreciate that more will likely be explained in the subsequent volumes, but several portions felt as if they weren’t fully fleshed out in this book, such as the different agates and how they are used to interact with the world around them. Several of the supporting characters also seemed to be missing some detail which would have allowed the reader to connect with them more deeply.