I do like good old fantasy, rich worlds with complex histories, that is what world building is about. This was good fantasy.The book begins and we learn that the former Governoner of Elfkyna was murdered, but a decorated officer named Konowa. But the governor was working for the dreaded Shadow Monarch, still there was a price to be paid. The Iron Elves were sent away and he was sent to the forest. He is not a normal elf, he was born with the dark mark and he does not care for trees. That is what the Iron Elves are, outcasts.But something is happening and the Iron Elves stand again and he is called out from the forest. He is to lead them and find the red star, perhaps with that they can gain some power to fight the wicked witch of the North.Konowa, well he angry, bit of a bastard sometimes, hates those trees and not a nice guy really. You would think, he would do anything for his Iron elves and he hates the Shadow Monarch and what she has done to him. You grow to like him, and bit by bit there are other sides of him. He is more than he seem to be. This is also shown when he meets Visyna. A tiny bit of romance that is not shown but that I want.Some called this military fantasy, and that fits. The author know about military history and he uses that knowledge. He knows what he is writing about, and makes it enjoyable.There is a great deal of fighting, and talking. A strange book that I well was rather neutral about at first. Then suddenly I was at page 150 and I could not stop reading. It had grabbed me and I had not known when and where. I wanted more so I finished it quickly without too many breaks in between. Good fantasy can do that.This is a book that I would recommend to fantasy fans, for others, well I fear the military aspects could be a bit dry. I enjoyed it but perhaps this sort of fantasy is not for everyone.But he has created a great world where the Human empire has spread out by the means of imperial forces and they have conquered the elves, orcs, the elfkynan and the dwarves. The world is ruled by men, and they see the rest of the races as a bit lesser. There are rebellions of course, and the elves, they only cares for their trees. I am happy that I have the next book so that i can see what will happen, The Shadow Monarch is out to rule the world, and the rest of the world really need to put their differences aside to win this fight.