This was a huge story. I saw that there were six other books in the series, and I can believe that it really takes that long to tell the entire story with everything that the author tries to squeeze in. However, something about this book bothered me, grating on the edge of my nerves. It took me about half of the book to figure out what it was. When I finally realized what was annoying me, I wondered why I hadn't noticed it sooner: all of the characters talk exactly the same.
There is no difference in diction between the seventeen-year-old children of fishermen and the forty-year-old master of disguise, or the most powerful magicians the world has ever seen. They don't use contractions. Their word choice is exactly the same. They all speak with the same rythm and meter. EVERYBODY talks exactly the same, with the exception of two guards in a town who actually used contractions, and had what felt like regional accents.
Despite the annoyance the diction provided, I really did enjoy this book. While the story line was a typical "prophecy to save the world" deal, a lot of time was put into each of the characters - their backgrounds, their personalities, their skills and talents. Each Prophecy Child was their own person, which can be difficult to manage when you're dealing with so many characters. I was worried early on that Arik and Tedi would be too similar, but they each grew into their own person, and even had differing views on subjects.
Niki was the only character who really annoyed me, though to be fair I'm pretty sure that was the intention with the way she was written. Frederick was by far my favorite character of the entire book. The kid's got magical powers AND he's a thief. He's damn near perfect.
The ending was a bit sudden, and contained a twist that surprised nobody, ever. Seriously. If you didn't see the bit with Garth and the mage chick coming, go see someone about getting reading comprehension classes. Frankly, I was surprised the "reveal" was put off for so long.