This gets more of a 3.5 stars from me b/c of craft, but I'll round up b/c I enjoyed it so much.
The story moves at a quick clip--sometimes too fast, but considering that a lot of books that I read go too slowly, this pace was refreshing.
Flanagan's prose walks that delicate line between lyrical and purple prosy. He manages to write beautiful, yet straightforward sentences that fit well with the fantasy realm he's created. I enjoyed that I was in another world, but the language--especially the names of people and locations--wasn't too hard to access.
I was confused for a while because I didn't understand why Horace's storyline was alternating with Will's. Then, after Horace's problems are resolved, he drops out of the main plot. That might have been handled differently. Towards the end of the book, when the plot turns more towards the Kalkara hunt, it seemed like Halt started acting out of character, and the prose got a bit sloppier. The epilogue was actually just another chapter and didn't need to be titled "epilogue," but I guess it works anyway.
Overall, the action is good and the character development is simple, but enjoyable. It's a pretty typical fantasy adventure story, but the Rangers and the different apprentice schools make it interesting. I will definitely be reading the second book in the series.