The Copper Promise by Jen Williams
I clicked request without really knowing much about the premise of this novel for two reasons. 1.) Angry Robot Books--I have really enjoyed every author I have read from them so far. Their selection for publication is pretty top notch. 2.) The description included mages, monsters, and gods. My kind of fantasy.
Now, when I started to read the novel, I felt an instant disconnection. I'm not really sure why. The story just didn't seem to fit the description for the novel I had requested. Maybe I was in a completely separate mindset from when I hit the request button. This does not make the book terrible; it just meant I had a loss of interest to overcome. And I did--when a giant dragon popped out of the ground. Not what I was expecting from the rather vague depiction of "monsters" in the teaser.
We go adventuring with Wydrin (aka The Copper Cat), Sir Sebastian (the exiled knight), Gallo (the charmer), and Lord Frith (the dead prince who isn't quite dead). A pretty typical gang for an epic fantasy quest. While the crew is pretty textbook, there are some interesting elements to the magic that keep it in the house of epic fantasy without being completely overplayed. There are creatures with an intriguing dynamic (hello brood army, I'm talking to you). And then there were some elements I could have completely done without for purely personal reasons.
The novel has a clear conclusion to the misadventures of the epic questor, but the story has clearly been left open for some sequels. The plot has movement and multiple points of climax which sort of turned anti-climatic for me. You really can't go wrong if you are looking for some swashbuckling, magic-ridden fun. Overall, 3 stars for the initial effort; let's see what book two brings to the table.