It's hard to write about a book that is really very skillful generic fantasy, but still absolutely generic fantasy. I get that this may have been one of the groundbreaking works - was it? - but now this is ground that has been retread so many times that all I'm getting from reading it is a Tolkien-homage. Not as close a Tolkien homage as some others, but Tolkien's world drips all over these pages.
The idea of a fantasy world being invaded by another fantasy world is interesting, and that's the premise of the books, as warriors from another dimension keep popping up and attacking, possibly trying to create beach-heads for a full invasion.
There are courtly politics around this, and a young emperor who is sitting happily in denial about anything going on for as long as he can.
The two viewpoint characters are two young men, one a warrior-in-training, the other a magician-in-training. The magician has magic the likes of which have not been seen in ages, or perhaps ever.
He's in love with the princess of the place where he lives, or rather, she's in love with him, and he's not quite sure how he feels.
I am running out of things to say already. There isn't an urgent dramatic push in this book. It meanders through an invasion, and the tension is rarely high. In fact, as far as I can remember, no named characters die, so the stakes are certainly not as high as they are in, say, a George R.R. Martin book, which has perhaps spoiled this kind of high fantasy for me.
The female character gets to be tempestuous and spoiled, and later to mellow, and discover that she likes it when the guy she has feelings for orders her around to keep her safe. Even if she doesn't always listen.
There are dwarves, and elves, and a dragon sleeping on his hoard. There are master magicians. The evil all comes from elsewhere. It's a fun read, but it just...it doesn't seem to have anything more to say.
Read as part of the BBC Big Read