When I first started this book, I wasn't overwhelmed by it. I just didn't find myself gripped by the action presented in the first chapter, and I found the writing style somewhat annoying. The author would often just state facts about a person's character, and then re-state it again and again like 20 pages later or something when it came up again, rather than being more subtle about it or whatever like I kind of expected from a book. And the descriptions seemed rather matter of fact and seemed to lack real depth.
After about halfway through the book however, these issues stopped being issues however and the author seemed to settle into the narrative and it seemed to flow more naturally.
The story itself is essentially your basic fantasy tale - the main character lives in a world of magic, and suddenly discovers he has been chosen and is destined to save the world from the evil villian and goes on a quest to do so. Alexander is the Marked One, predestined to stop the evil Prince Phane who has slumbered magically for 2000 years, waiting for his chance to take over the world.
The characters seemed to lack a bit of depth, they didn't really seem flawed in any way. Alexander just accepted his destiny without any struggle, as did his friends and family and there's no real hesitation or anguish about it, and they all think really logically and strategically about everything. Maybe I'm too used to the protagonist being the cocky or quick tempered guy who has to settle into his role, rather than Alexander who just seems to slot into it straight away. Phane as a villian is quite flat as well, but with him I don't mind it as much - he obviously just wants to rule the world and is quite cruel, but it seems to add something to his evilness that I don't mind so much with him.
Another thing that irked me about the characters, is Alexander's love interest Isabel. It was obvious (as it usually is to be fair) as soon as we met her that she was going to be his love interest. But it just seemed to progress insanely quickly and without much exploration or development. I mean yes, they both seem to be attracted to each other as soon as they meet, but within like 20 pages of meeting Isabel, Alexander declares that he is in love with her, and before we are even halfway through the book (considering we met Isabel about 1/4 of the way through-ish?) he proposes to her and she accepts. Little time seems to be spent to developing their relationship, apart from the fact they are both obviously attracted to each other, and there doesn't seem to be any consideration for how this might affect things, any problems with it or the fact their love will probably be putting her in even more danger. There's no real hint of this in the book.
Also, the plot point of the fact that Alexander is King of Ruatha etc. and that's why his bloodline was cursed and destined to be the ones to stop Phane was so blindingly obvious. Also, Alexander goes from minor noble/ranch hand to King without little hesitation or problems, which just seems flawed.
Okay, so I've ranted a lot about how flat the characters are and stuff, but overall I did enjoy the book. About halfway through the book, apart from the odd incredibly cheesy thing I stopped being bothered by thoughts of how I was annoyed by the writing style etc. If I could have, I would have rated it more 3.5 stars, rather than 3 (note: I did initially rate this book 4, but changed it to 3 after reading the next book in the series which I felt was a significant enough improvement on this one). I will be reading the next book in the series (I hate leaving stories unfinished unless it's REALLY BAD), and I hope that the author settles into his writing style more and progresses. Overall, an enjoyable book, but not the best book ever.