Although it’s book #1 of the Neverwinter series, I’m pretty sure there are 20 or so other books I ought to have read before this one. Or I’m 20 years too old for reading anything Dungeons & Dragons (which I didn’t even realize I was doing at first). I may have just started too late in the game on both counts. Regardless, for a couple hundred pages it felt a little too fanciful (a unicorn, a character named Nanfoodle, and two scimitars named Twinkle and Icingdeath, for example) and derivative (flashes of everything from “The Lord of the Rings” to “He-Man” [and I’m sure He-Man is actually derivative of D&D, but that’s what I was exposed to first in life]) for my tastes. It wasn’t a bad read, though the fight scenes were a bit mechanical, especially earlier on, and there were a few nice surprises, but it was also hard to feel very engaged in the story or characters as it bounced around so much and there were gaps of a decade or more in the action–not to mention nearly every problem can be and is solved with magic, which is too continually convenient to be thrilling. But mostly I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was supposed to be invested in the characters before even starting the book, and if that’s the case I can’t blame the author for not spending more time on character development or for not rehashing what may be old news for most readers. It wasn’t as rich a read as I normally prefer, but I may yet read the second book in this series. And I’ll probably take to it a lot quicker now that I have one under my belt already.