While I do share the current love of Grimdark in Fantasy Fiction I also enjoy the slightly lighter side of the genre as well. Exile, the first in a 2 book series would, in my opinion lean toward the lighter side of Grimdark - not too dark and not too fluffy, an excellent blend.
The story concerns Aron (the titular exile) in a tale of heroism and treachery which ends in some pretty epic fight scenes. He is employed by the Earl of Nandor to rescue his heir but betrayal changes everything. There is a good bit of family politics, fun to read banter, hints of 'Destiny' all things you would expect in this kind of tale but it is all wrapped up in some excellent story telling. The world is well realised - and being a very 'visual' reader this is something that is very important to me - and populated with interesting people, Gods, and a decent history.
As a hero Aron is just what you would expect, dashing, brave, admired by the ladies, but he also come across as a decent sort, not big headed or 'better than everyone else' (and it makes a change for the hero not to be a 'former turnip farmer').
So, heroic fantasy verging on the lighter side of Grimdark that all sets up nicely for 'Return To Nandor' (out later this year). A very enjoyable read that I will be looking to read again. Martin Owton is an author I have no hesitation in recommending and one I am putting high on my 'authors to watch' list
4.75/5* (I'm saving the extra .25 of a star for the final book)