Full disclosure...this book knocked me out of last years Self-Published Fantasy Blog-off at Fantasy Faction, and I read it only to find out what new classic in Fantasy literature could possibly have defeated the amazing story that is Dave Woke Up (available now for free on this very website)!
Priest totally deserved it's win as a finalist. It's a fascinating new world that I hope to get deeper into. The use of religious magic system, along with several more arcane varieties, is one of my favorite things in fantasy and one that is so rarely used. It's brought to the fore front almost right away and it's an intrinsic part of the plot, so used to the fullest, which is how all magic systems should be managed.
The magic system also leads us to the title character. A rich and twisted young man with a history that brings us into the world through dynamic experiences and memories that show the breadth and creativity of the author. I had some issue with the implied history of the character that seemed like we had missed the previous book (or D&D play session) which made for some awkward character moments. I think that the growing confusion of the character and his inner turmoil make for a fine drive to the novel.
There's a lot introduced in the story and sometimes it feels like there are assumptions made in the world building that leave the reader uninformed, but most of it is so visually appealing and fantastically interesting that it's forgivable.
I'd encourage anyone who loves fantasy to give this novel a chance. I gave Priest three stars out of five.