I wish Sullivan had let his skills mature a little before putting this book out. It's pretty close to something really good. I was drawn in by the promised plot, but let down by the execution. The story can't decide if it's too big or too little. There are things that are obviously set up to be dealt with in another book, but they are obviously set up. The entire middle of the book is dedicated to introducing a character who then just wanders out of the plot. When they do get back to the point of the book, it's a very straight-forward "Evil Adviser tries to steal throne" plot.I couldn't tell the two main characters apart, mostly because they both talk exactly the same way. Every single line from either of them is just 'witty banter,' even in situations where talking like that would be inappropriate. There is no tonal shift in the dialogue between a scene where there relaxing in a pub and a scene where they're actively fighting people. It's just exactly the same, the whole way through, and that really grinded on my nerves after a while. Also, there's a very simple formula for telling who is being truthful in this book: it's always the second person. Any time these boys are told one thing, then contradicted by another person, the second person is always right. And the boys always believe that second person, no questions asked. You'd think after being lied to that many times, they'd learn to disbelieve everything, but nope. Kidnap the prince for his own good, let the wizard out of prison, and I'm sure that guy just had a trustworthy face or something.There's some very basic research fails done in this book. Like: no, you can't sheer through another sword with a rapier, it has no edge blade; no, you should not leave a saddle on the horse even if you're just stopping for a couple hours, the time you save in being lazy will be lost later when you're horse drops dead of exhaustion; no, you can't muster that many men in less than a day, and also large armies do not march that fast. Just so many little things that threw me out of it.The plot was poorly paced, as there were several sections in this book that were just page after page of recap. Just one character talking at another and telling them everything we've already read through. I guess in case we missed it the first time? There's also points where one character will explain very basic things to another character, such as the several pages dedicated to explaining religion to someone who's lived around that religion his whole life. I can understand not knowing the finer points of this or that denomination, but if everyone worships the same set of gods, why would you need the very pantheon explained? The battle at the end only ended when the prince did what he should have done to start things off, and there's no good reason why he didn't do that first. He cries that soldiers are dying, but even knowing that they'd been tricked into this he doesn't give them a chance to surrender? Why not?Why have a death trap that elaborate just to kill one person and make it look like an accident? There are much smaller, but still fatal, accidents that someone could gave, and they'd look much less suspicious. BUT, as always, I'm a very picky reader. Even though I found a lot to be annoyed at, the book isn't really too bad. Sullivan is very easy to read, and his side characters were entertaining. There's a lot of moving parts, which is handled in an alright fashion, and it does promise even grander fun to come if you enjoyed this book.