Sam did a great job of telling this story and creating a setting that I was able to understand and picture as I read. Because the setting was similar to our world, I was often surprised by some of the fantasy elements when they appeared. (Like the dragons, and dwarfs for example) But the characters in the story reacted well to these fantasy characters and creatures so in the end it worked well together.
Of the many different characters, I really liked the main character, Erik, and the beginning of his journey into adulthood. It was great to see into his thoughts and experience some of the confusion, and growth that he went through.
The one criticism I have is the timeline, I'm not too sure how long it takes to go from place to place, and it seems that the characters are sometimes bounced great distances very quickly, but that is a detail that can easily be overlooked with all the other great aspects of this story. I am eagerly awaiting the next installment in this series.
If you're looking for a good, clean fantasy told by a talented storyteller, check out Dragon's Champion!