You meet Arlen, at eleven years old, while he and his parents are coming to town to assist and clean up with the few people remaining after the corelings, or demons, attacked the previous night - as they always do attack but the wards on the houses this night didn't hold. Then we meet the lovely Leesha who, at thirteen, thinks her life is perfect and on the proper path, but suddenly changes. Finally, we meet Rojer who as a three year old losses his parents to the corelings in an attack infront of him, due to neglected wards (not of their whole fault). These three people meet many others along their way and come across many rough patches to be the ones needed in the end.
This book sets the stage of the fear, beliefs, and mentality of the people in this world. Along with creating some wonderful characters by what has happened, or not happened, to them. Arlen is the main character of the book, but you follow three the characters through part of their lives, at least the major parts. These characters grow dramatically through the book, and I enjoyed watching them do so. Arlen is one of the few characters I have read who grows up to be what he wants, not because of an amazing mentor but because of the weaker influences in his life. He uses the weaknesses of others to be an influence to himself to be stronger and not as fearful as others. He didn't want to be like the others and watch or just be.
The writing style in this book struck a cord in me, as for me it reminded me of a cross between Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn Trilogy and Patrick Rothfuss's Name of the Wind. I have to say if you enjoy Fantasy, this is a must read for you. I don't know what it is but there is an attraction in their story telling that drew me in and kept me there, and Peter Brett now is in that category with them.
The story is written as every word counts and means something. I found the descriptions of details wonderful, as I could see the corelings, happenings, and the scenery clearly in my minds eye. I knew and understood what the characters felt. I learned a lot of the corelings and characters at a gradual pace as to not overwhelm me but to keep me wanting more as well. The story does have a quest in it, but it is more of an adventure to travel.
The ending seemed a little rushed for me and for that reason a little less exciting for me compared to the rest of the book. But, this was a small thing compared to the books over all greatness.