I'm going to leave my full judgment of the work for when I finish the rest of the trilogy. So far I've been intrigued and entertained and yet I full well realize that I've fallen into the trap of comparing these books to those of Zelazny. Roger Zelazny's prose is as much of the magic that is Amber as is the actual pieces of the book. My initial gut reaction is that I'm disappointed that the hardiest chuckle I got was 120 pages into the paperback and I didn't see a single pun. I also realized that I don't think I can take reading any more explanations on the Trumps, Logrus, and Shadows. Zelazny himself did it twice and having the majority of this book being the third repetition of that pattern is a bit annoying. I understand it is a prequel, but I think it almost would be better had it been taken for granted all of the back story and instead opened about half-way into the family politics that are the real meat of the book.
All of the above perhaps sounds very negative, but it is merely the negatives that stand out the most. As I said, mostly I have to reserve a full judgment until after I've seen where the rest of the trilogy takes the story and how the author handles some of the next tasks in the journey. Taking it as a non-Zelazny book and a non-Amber book I can certainly say that is an average book that I enjoyed and do look forward to where the author goes with it.