At first glance this is standard YA fantasy fare, and it will somewhat live up to that expectation. But past that, its really a great story. The characters are quite believable, and the writing style has a truly unique flavor, like the fudge ribbon in really good fudge ripple ice cream. Invest the $2 if you can find a used copy, i guarantee you wont regret it. My only regret is that Ms Moulton never wrote anything else. First battle is a truly illuminary first novel and should have been announcing a stunningly original new voice in fantasy literature. Oh Debra Moulton, where are you now?