A stand-alone epic fantasy? You betcha! One of the rarest creatures in the epic fantasy genre. And it's GOOD!
Okay, so I went to the author's webpage and discovered that this is actually the first book in a series called The Conquerings - but seriously, it stands on it's own very, very nicely, so the fact that the second book has yet to be written doesn't concern me at all!
Sword and Chant reminded me a bit of Guy Gavriel Kay's work, in that the characters are so human and flawed and even a couple of the main characters I found downright unlikable even though I found much respect for them throughout the story.
Ultimately, I think that Sword and Chant is a tale of sacrifice, compromise, maturing, loyalty and love. A lot of things, but it is an epic fantasy. An epic fantasy with setting that feels new, if you know what I mean. And that's refreshing.
The author writes with a richness that's especially prevalent when she's writing the scenes featuring the gods. Yes, another book featuring gods interacting with the mortals and yes, I still am not fond of the trope, but I didn't mind it so much here. I think it was because I was so invested in the mortal characters.
And it made me cry. The final chapter had me weeping in my second cup of coffee this morning. :)
This is the first book I've read by Blair MacGregor, but it won't be the last. I'm glad I followed the recommendation for Sword and Chant from wherever I got it. *LOL* It was either a fantasy book blog, but more likely one of the fantasy authors I follow... Ken Liu (author of The Grace of Kings) quite possibly.