I did like the character Hem. He had enough immaturity to him that he seemed realistic, but not so much that he was annoying. I like his more childish personality. But I wasn't a huge fan of Maerad or Cadvan. Maerad was a very whiny protagonist. She's had a hard life, but she took the whining to an extreme. Cadvan seemed like your stereotypical, wiser-than-thou mentor. He was like Gandalf, only younger.
The pace of this book is lagging. It has exciting parts, but most of it is incredibly slow. There are rather unnecessary scenes in the book, like Maerad getting her period. That was not needed to move the plot along.
I also felt the writer tried to hard to give the writing a "formal" feel. I know that fantasy often has more archaic language, but this was rather extreme and the writing was very stiff and formal.
I did like Annar, even if it could be a bit Middle-Earth like. It seemed very well-developed and I could immerse myself there.
Overall, this wasn't a terrible book, but I didn't enjoy it and thought it needed a lot of work.
--Had an interesting storyline.
--World seemed well-developed.