In the spirit of honesty, I would never have picked this book up for myself. The synopsis didn't excite me and, for me, there was just no real pull to the book, but I picked it up anyway because I knew a friend of mine would love it. I decided that it wouldn't hurt to buddy-read it with her and I am very glad I did. I enjoyed it far more than I had expected; I found it to be a good reminder that sometimes it is good to branch out and read something I normally wouldn't.
I really enjoyed the worldbuilding in this novel. I took me a couple of chapters to really understand the inner workings of the world and the various aspects of the magic. However, once I got that down I felt that it really hit the sweet spot, the world wasn't too complex nor did it leave me feeling like I needed more. It was actually quite straightforward for a fantasy novel which I found quite refreshing.
I really liked Wil, she was strong, fierce, and an amazing fighter. All things that make for a great main character, but what I liked most about her was her sense of morality and loyalty, not only to the nation she lost but also to her close-knit group of friends. Wil didn't always make great choices but she made them not while thinking about herself but about those she loved, which only made me love her all the more. Her loyalty made her seem more human and less that inhumanly perfect warrior queen that seems common in literature.
In fact, the only reason the book received four instead of five stars was due to the fact that I was able to call some of the plot twists. I felt that while I loved the journey, there were too many instances where the book had foreshadowing just felt too obvious and made it too easy to guess the plotline. This being said, it has a killer cliffhanger that I did not see coming and has left me jonesing to get my hand on the next book.