I just finished this book recently. I was excited going in because I saw generally good reviews. However, I was disappointed, especially with the first half of the book. I ended up liking it overall, but the first half was very slow, and there was nothing particularly interesting about it.
We have scheming kings, bandits, a boy destined for great things, a prince who thinks he's going to be some kind of great savior, a looming war. It's all something I've seen before in fantasy. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the early part of this book lacked other elements that could make up for the lack of originality. I'm okay with unoriginal ideas if I love the characters or the writing. The characters grew on me eventually, but getting through the first half of the book was a chore.
As for the writing, it's not the best I've seen in the fantasy genre. Most of the time, it was competent, but there were a few places where I found myself shaking my head and wondering how some things had made it past a professional editor. Things like shrugging and grinning as dialogue tags. That might just be something I noticed as a writer myself, but it bothered me.
Despite all this, I wouldn't say it's a bad book. The end of the book made up for the struggle I had earlier on. Toward the end, there were some great action sequences, and the story really got rolling with revelations and other interesting plot developments. It just took too long to get there. If I'd written this book, I would have condensed a lot of the earlier scenes, or eliminated them altogether.
Still, this book was good enough that I'll read the next in the series.