Anders is a teenager who has normal, teenage problems. He's got terrible skin. He's terrible with girls. His parents frequently lock him away in a room and force him to study, and only release him when all of his homework is done.
To be honest, it feels like the author was trying too hard to make a fantasy character relatable to a teenage audience. It sort of defeats the purpose of trying to make the main character a normal teenager when you give him magic blood and a pixie living in his sword that he can talk to with his mind. You don't have to have him whine about his pimples every three pages to make him a relatable character.
There's a scene near the end (don't worry, I don't give spoilers...or actively avoid trying to, anyway!) where he's crying about his parents. He cries because even though his parents locked him inside a room for hours on end, almost never spoke to him, and were terrible parents in general, he still loved them.
Yes! GOOD! THAT is relatable! And you didn't even have to mention his skin condition!
The book started off fairly slow, but by the end, the plot was careening past you. Things definitely got interesting in the last few chapters.
There's also a nice afterword by the author, saying that if you write a review and email him a link to it, he'll send you a free copy of the second book in the series. I don't think I'll be taking him up on that, but I thought it was an amazingly sweet gesture.
I like the way magic works in this world. Magic can be created from any language that isn't English, apparently. Though that does make it seem that English could have been put together to give names to things, without running a risk of tampering with the object you're naming. Ah, ignore me my short rant on linguistics there...
The way magic works is based on the person saying the word. For instance, a word for fire. Depending on how the speaker intends it, fire could warm someone or something up, cook food, create a light, become a weapon, weld something together...it's all just based on what you mean when you say "fire".
I guess this has turned into a bit of a ramble, hasn't it? I suppose to sum up: I would have liked the book more if Anders wasn't constantly whining about his pimples.