I'm not sure how to write this review, there were parts of this book I really, really liked and others that I didn't like so much.
The writing was engaging and I felt like I could really connect with Alera. Which is so, so important to me! If I can't connect, you can't make me read a book that's almost 500 pages long. That's right, it was almost 500 pages! There aren't that many YA books out there that have a page count like that.
And that's also one of the things I didn't like so much. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for longer books, cause I invest into getting into a story and I like staying with those characters for a while. But there wasn't all that much happening in this book. I mean, a significant amount of pages would pass between the actual action. And I don't even mean major action, just small stuff.
I really liked Alera, Narian and London, Alera's bodyguard until she does something REALLY stupid. The rest of the secondary characters were a bit lacking in development in my opinion. Especially Steldor (who I kept thinking of as Sheldor, but I watch too much Big Bang Theory), who Alera's father wants her to marry. He's weird and inconsistent and seems somewhat evil, but everyone is convinced he's in love with Alera. It was weird and I didn't like him.
I would have liked a bit more information about the whole prophecy/curse, because let's be honest, there was enough room for it in the book and I'm really interested to find out what exactly is going on.
If you read it, towards the ending I was constantly thinking: SOMETHING is going to happen. I don't care what, but it'll stop BIG EVENT (trying to remain spoiler-free here). And then the book ended and I was thinking: NOOOOO!
Okay, I can't help myself: ***SPOILER, light up to read***
Seriously, I even thought maybe Steldor would be killed during the wedding as they were invaded through the secret tunnel, because why else was it mentioned before??? I was so sure Narian would show up BEFORE they got married. What's up with him leaving anyway? Do you guys think he saw Alera and Steldor kiss on Steldor's birthday and decided to split?
So, I had some slight issues with this book, but overall I really enjoyed it. It's been awhile since I read a YA fantasy and I really love fantasy as a genre. On Goodreads it says the sequel will be out sometime in 2011 and I hope that's true, cause seriously, I NEED to read the second book and find out what happens next!
My rating: 4 stars