I'm opting to give this book four stars, simply because the ending was satisfying and I did enjoy reading it. There were some flaws though that irritated me throughout the way, and I was very disappointed in Shinn's writing style (her Archangel series seems to be very popular, and although I haven't read it, from the way I've seen her work described I expected better).
First off, it was very predictable. Not in the just-like-every-other-fantasy sense, although it wasn't anything terribly new, but I often found myself rolling my eyes since it would be obvious what happened next. I got the sense of just being strung along on a series of mediocre adventures with all obvious outcomes.
It took me about halfway through the book to actually bond with some of the characters, and it was not even close to the bonds I've felt with characters from other books (maybe its a problem, but I can really grow attached to a character if they're written right). I'm sure your meant to, since there are situations meant for just a thing, but it just doesn't work. For example, Tayse (the hero) stops talking to Senneth (the heroine) for ridiculous reasons. I understood why, in a sense, but I felt like I was missing a whole lot to make me actually relate to him. I get the feeling that Shinn was grasping at straws to create conflict between her main characters.
Despite all that, I was relatively happy closing this book. The loose ends were tied up fairly well considering this is the first book in the series, and I'll be able to wait patiently for the next book to come out. But maybe that isn't such a good thing, since some of the best books I've read keep me aching for the next chapter. I recommend this book as a light read, and if you go into it with few expectations I'm sure you'll enjoy it. It is definetly not a bad book, but it simply lacks what I want out of epic romantic fantasy. But who knows? This is just the beginning.