Edmund is a typical (?) medieval geek: he likes reading, knows a lot of stories, and several languages, but he is practically useless in a village where he lives. He is also middle-aged, balding, overweight, and he stutters: not a typical fantasy hero, right? I mean, he is completely opposite to Conan the Barbarian - as an example - in all things you can think of. One evening he was humiliated in from of a girl he tried to court and got somewhat drunk as a result. So what does any geek do in his place? Why, goes on adventure of cause. This is exactly what Edmund does and he keeps stumbling from one really miserable situation into another.
This was one of the central themes of the book: the idea that life would be much easier for Edmund and people he cares about had he stayed in the village continuing his worthless life. This theme kind of bothered me: the poor guy really had no clue about the dangers he ended up when he went to a seemingly harmless and fairly short trip. Had he stayed he might as well ended his life then and there: it was so bleak and hopeless. Well, it became much worse after his fateful decision.
The development of character of Edmund was a much bigger problem for me; I really did not believe it. At one point Edmund was almost completely broken, and then he emerged as a strong leader without showing any leadership traits before and no motivation of becoming one. I really hoped that he - being a geek - would overcome his enemies by using his brains, but it looks like he decided to go Conan the Barbarian's route and use brute force in tight situations. He also thinks as a complete retard at times.
I also need to mention some of the typical fantasy cliches used: there are typical ogres, elves, and goblins in the book. If you are not sure what 'typical' mean in this case, you can always refresh your memory by reading The Lord of the Rings, or other fantasy classics. Goblins in the book are really nasty and some of their torture methods are described in details, so beware if you are squeamish.
What about the parts I like? Two of the goblins - Kravel and Gurding - are simply brilliant with their humorous if somewhat morbid banter. It was also noticed by one of my friends that the book has one of the best non-written combat scene with very unexpected results. The end of the book while failing to wrap any plot-lines still indicates that further and more interesting development of Edmund is in store in the sequel. My rating is solid 3 stars.
This review is a copy/paste of my BookLikes one: http://gene.booklikes.com/post/835065/a-new-series-from-a-new-author