Rather than knights and dragons, this fantasy revolves more around warring clans and the unforgiving forces of nature. The story is set in the middle of a huge desert, which is a refreshing change of scenery from the usual. There is a huge militaristic element as Butu is sent to train with his clan’s army (which was a bit of a turnoff for me because I hated my time in the US Army) but I found the culture of the military well-represented and especially detailed for a fantasy read.
There's plenty of lore and world-building, though mainly through story-telling (a story within a story), so you really do get the feel that the world is much bigger outside of Butu’s own limited experience. The plot and history of instigating events are threaded together at an even pace, so you don’t ever really get tired of hearing about the ancient kings and kingmakers and such.
It’s hardly worth mentioning, but it did take a while for me to catch on to the vocabulary. We’re given no primer and just tossed in with Butu’s day-to-day, so at first it was difficult to understand what the shanubu they were talking about.
I highly recommend this read for any fantasy-lover looking for something different. It really was a breeze to read.