Were I younger--say about ten or twelve years old--I think I would have adored this book. However, it lacks the polish I've seen in Gail Carson Levine's earlier work, particularly Ella Enchanted. In particular, I had a hard time following event causation (things happened for no discernible reason, and often were not explained at all), many of the descriptions seemed aimed at showing off the world-building/culture rather than furthering the story, and the characterisation of the side characters seemed based largely on quirks in their speech (repeated words or phrases, particular sounds, etc). The net result, for me, was an overall inability to connect with the story in any meaningful way. Instead of being immersed in the story, I was removed from the action as I read.