This was such a good book. I read it through and then immediately re-read it. The story was intriguing, the characters well fleshed although pretty straight forward - the good guys and bad guys are pretty identifiable for the most part. The reason I’m taking a star off is because the names, titles and houses are pretty horrendous to keep straight. To make it worse, the helpful list of names, places, things in the front of the book make it even more confusing - it’s really not so helpful, lol!
This book would benefit hugely from the format the George rr Martin uses in his books. He lists characters by house and their position in it. Then associated characters like the servants, the knights etc. This helps you figure out things much faster. This book has an alphabetical list so you wind up with place names beside servants names beside long lost emperor names, GAH! It is SO annoying.
And yet I really liked the story even though I’m probably still missing connections. I read a lot and have been able to navigate many fantasy worlds with very different naming conventions so I don’t think it’s that i’m whining. This was just a confusing setup.