This is one of those books that I would give to a reluctant fantasy reader. I know that a lot of high fantasy can be bogged down with details making it hard to read for those that aren't used to that sort of writing. This, however, is not bogged down with details, but gives just the right amount to keep the story moving and still put you fully in that world. I was enthralled with the story but once I hit the half way mark, I had a hard time putting it down. Who needs sleep?
My favorite thing about this book is Meira. I loved her transformation from a typical teen wanting to prove herself into a true leader. I also loved the world building in the book. And I will caution you about one thing... there is a love triangle brewing. Not sure how it will play out but it was done in such a way it didn't bother me in the least. I did feel on edge about it, but my worries never manifested. I suspect it is because romance is not a major player in this story but promises to readdress itself in later editions of this series.
I give this book 5 stars. I really enjoyed this book and my only complaint is that I don't have the second book in my hot little hands! As I said above I would recommend it to those that are reluctant to get into the fantasy genre.
PS... anyone kept picturing Xena when seeing this cover? One reason I loved it! LOL