Valentine awakes on a sun-drenched ledge overlooking a bustling town. With only vague memories of the day before, he follows a young herdsman into town. Slowly, in vivid dreams, his memories begin to return, though they’re hardly believable. His crown and memories stolen by an usurper, Valentine must travel across half the world to regain his rightful place.

Note: The title on the image is for the sequel, yet the image is otherwise the same as the copy of the book I have.

Majipoor, the world the book is set in, is very, very big. Comfortably inhabited by 20+ billion humans and aliens, it has known peace for the last 10,000 years or so. The world is sunny and peaceful, people are happy, and this is the first conflict in a very long while. The world is described in wonderful detail; the flora, the aliens, the cities, the culture. It’s a joy to journey across Majipoor and discover its secrets.

Valentine himself is a good lead, as he slowly changes from juggler to who he once was. He definitely stood out the most of all the characters, who in some ways fade a bit after they’ve been established and their relationship to Valentine determined.

Despite the long journey Valentine undertakes, I felt like the book moved at a good pace. I never felt bored or that too much time was spent describing plants or locales. The story slowly becomes more complicated, and the original inhabitants of Majipoor, the Metamorphs, become a key component.

This first book of Valentine’s Majipoor Cycle wraps up the main conflicts, but there’s plenty more to deal with in the aftermath for the next books to tackle. Overall, it was a very enjoyable read, a mix of science-fiction and fantasy. Majipoor is a wonderfully detailed and pleasant world I’d like to visit again sometime.