Shorter review because I'm on a book-reading binge currently (and am getting lazy).
This was a good read. I really appreciated a break from hack-and-slash-adventures or a typical tour-the-new-world fantasy book. This is more of a character development, mull on some morals, what-if scenarios put into actual writing, kind of book. It's a little slower paced, a little more in the character's head, but overall, very nice.
Medair is a pretty good strong female lead and I like sticking with her third person limited point of view. She succumbs a little too easily to the geas (I would have liked a little more fight to get away from it) even though we all know it's to put Medair and whats-his-name-main-male-character-lead together.
That was a big problem. Names. Usually I'll get it after the end of the book, but this book... seriously there were so many K- names and titles. It was a little frustrating trying to figure out who was who and what were titles versus real names.
I did not like the second twist of landing the whole freaking city in an alternate timeline because it felt a little contrived. Actually a lot of the plot points felt contrived. The Conflagration happening right before Medair leaves was eyebrow-raising, to be sure. But I guess if Host wants to make a series, it had to have happened.
The attraction happened a little too obviously. I wish there was more development than obvious interest.
I loved the verbal sparring and would have loved to see a little more of it.
I like the philosophical musings on what it means to be loyal and to whom do you give your loyalties.
Overall, I was very impressed by this book because it feels mostly fresh. It doesn't have all the cliches of a fantasy novel. Sure, there are a couple of things I've seen before, but it was all written in a new perspective. Very cool.
(edit: And actually, I take it back. I have seen this before. It's like Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith. Demoting it down half a star.)
Three 2.5 stars. Good job. I liked it.
Recommended for people who like fantasy books with a decent (not stupid) female lead.
Read the second book (which was originally part of one big book). It was crap, unless you just want to read a pure romance-without-thought book. You don't need to read the second book. Actually, I really would recommend you just stop after book one.