Young Prince Jorg is the heir to one of the hundred thrones of the broken empire, and he is a monster. He looks like a pretty normal 14 year old boy, but a page in, and you will have no doubt that he is a monster. There’s a pretty good reason why he’s a monster, but never doubt that he is a monster. To call him a hero is a farce. To call him an anti-hero isn't even accurate. He is the protagonist of the story. Jorg himself isn’t concerned with such titles, and focuses only on whether he is victorious or not.
This is a dark book, full of evil deeds, and it makes no apology for it. It isn't "grim-dark" like 40k. It isn't played for laughs.
For all that, Jorg does spend an awful lot of time wondering about his motivations. He has no desire to be controlled, to be used, or to be played like a pawn, and when he finds himself playing such a game, he changes the rules.
There aren’t very many characters to talk about. Since the book is written from a first person perspective, and the narrator is a psychopath, the focus is solely on Jorg, and there were a few points where I had to wonder how reliable a narrator he was.
Initially, the setting was a little odd. It didn’t have the usual fantasy tropes, and included some real world names and items, especially books. Initially I thought that it might be an alternate reality, but more and more it became clear that the story is set in a post-apocalyptic Europe. I appreciated how the author used that familiarity, and twisted it to help craft the story.
Like a more typical fantasy novel, there are monsters and magic, but like the setting itself, they take interesting turns from the expected.
At the start I did not expect to enjoy this book... but I did, and I read it in 2 sittings, and then promptly ordered the sequel.