The first time I picked up this book, I found it too much like hard work. The main character was unsympathetic, and all the characters spoke in some pidgin version of what I thought was either Portuguese or Spanish. I gave up on it, and left it on a shelf. A while later I moved house and came across it again. I picked it up, and found it difficult to put down. The complex characters enthralled me, the differing strands of the plots drew me in and held me captive until I had meandered my way through them all. The language only made the characters more real to me, and I couldn't wait to find out their development, their dreams and their fates. This book is hard work, but only as you get used to the very different environment and world Melanie Rawn and her co writers have painted for us. If you let it flow over you and just enjoy it, it will reward you as it has me with enchantments every time you pick it up. I've read and reread it several times now, and each time there is a freshness to the story through some element I hadn't noticed before. In fact, I'm sure it's about time I dug it out and read it again. This is a book to treasure - and I can't wait for the prequel!