This book was a well written epic fantasy embodying the character of a healer. Like most in this genre, it covered a wide array of world building, plot points, and character development. Some of these things I felt were done superbly, while others I felt were less deft in their execution.
I found the characters in this book to be likeable and enduring. While some of the secondary characters seemed to be introduced into this work to be used at a later time, the characters we did interact with enough to know were both real and relatable. They grew as the story went on and showed both fortitude and resilience. Some of the conflicts between characters early in this book were used in a large part to shape our main protagonist and her view of the world she had been thrust into. That these were then later forgotten left me feeling incomplete. This lack of closure could be in part so that these old conflicts can be reincarnated in later books in this series, but even still I felt that it was almost an avoided opportunity.
The world building in this book was both a strength and weakness. The cultures were vividly done, and for the most part, dynamic in their opposition. The physical imagery was a weakness; while expansive in scope much of the world was just lightly penciled in. Some of the terrain I could clearly picture while vast amounts of it were still washed in a water-color haze. I also felt that the flow of this book was a bit dragging in places. There were days and days of waiting where I felt our main character could have been actually doing something instead of watching the days go by.
The plot was wide-spread and for a good portion of the book focused on escape. This was a bit of a problem for me as while our character wanted escape her attempts were lack-luster at best. When she did finally succeed she was thrust into the second half of the plot which pretty much deemed the first half irrelevant. Once she discovers her "destiny" the plot still took the meandering path to go anywhere, and our main character's eureka moment was not reached until the last chapter in this work.
I found it intriguing that this book was written in first person. It may well be the first epic fantasy I have encountered that chose this writing style. I was impressed by Ms. Marton's ability to convey and explore such a scope while remaining firmly rooted in the main characters first-person viewpoint.
While I felt it was quite well written, this book was not exactly my cup of tea. This is due in a large part to the genre; I am not the biggest epic fantasy aficionado. For those who like the genre, especially the sub-set of a healer story, I would recommend checking this book out. As for me, it is one of the down-sides of an e-book copy, as I highly doubt I will ever reread this story and wish I could pass it along to someone who would get more joy out of it that I have. I guess that is the balance of the tasting menu price of e-books.