This is actually a re-read for me. I read this book when it first came out in 2004, over 10 years ago. I loved it then, so when I saw it pop up on my suggested reading list, I decided to re-read it. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy it nearly as much. I found the story line to be somewhat basic: a kingdom made vulnerable by the death of a king and led by a reluctant heir is invaded. There were high points, however. The way the author developed magic in her world was quite interesting. I liked how she thought of it, a very nice change. Honestly though, I only really finished it to see what happened to the characters. I did not attach to them like I do with many books. However, the characters were interesting. Overall, not a bad book for teen readers or people starting out with sci-fi.