Quentin is just a young acolyte in the temple of Ariel studying to become a priest. He has been watching the signs, and knows today is the day something special will happen. He doesn’t expect the “something special” to be a near-dead and half frozen knight found outside the gates. The knight is desperate to deliver his message to the queen of Askelon, but knows he will not survive the journey. Quentin volunteers to deliver the message, even though he knows once he leaves the temple he can never return. This seemingly simple task begins a grand adventure for Quentin, in which he meets Durwin, the hermit of the woods, Theido, ex-knight and leader of a band of outlaws in the woods, and travels across the land with Queen Alinea herself.
In the Hall of the Dragon King is a great young adult fantasy novel. Quentin is a young, impulsive boy who is trying to figure out who he is and find his place in the world. He is fun to read about and easy to sympathize with. He meets many interesting characters in his travels, like Durwin the hermit, Theido the outlaw, and Toli the deer-like woodland guide. Oh, and being a horse person, I liked that Quentin bonded to his horse Baldor, and even the horse had some personality in the book. I especially liked how we learn more about these characters and the world as the story moves along. The villains are clearly evil, creepy, and easy to root against, especially Nimrood the necromancer, who enjoys laughing at the end of his sentences.
I could have done with a few less not-so-subtle references to Christianity in this book. I have no problems with religion in novels or anything, especially fantasy novels when it is part of the world building, but I felt this one went a little overboard. I felt the religion was less part of the world building, and more author’s opinion which just wasn’t what I was interested in. Didn’t take away too much from the story though. I’m looking forward to the rest of this trilogy.