This book has a little bit of everything: mystery, magic, romance, treachery, fighting for a throne...it was all around entertainment. It did a good job not giving things away to easily and building up all the revelations. I found it very unique in the story it told about the women of that time, the world they lived in and the roles they were tied to. They had very little choice and were mainly pawns in a game made and dominated by men. You are born and you life is controlled by your Parent, then you marry and your life is controlled by your husband. So the convent and the power and small freedom it brought could be very powerful to girl who have even more limited options, and who have been hurt by the roles they were stuck with. It gave the girls like Ismae and Sybella a way to take back the power they lost...but as Ismae finds out...they can becomes pawns again just as quickly. While the Convent is her savior...it also shows itself to her another prison...you just trade one role for another. One set of expectations, for another...despite the expanded freedom it gives. I like that the magic, while there...but pretty subtle and did not take over the whole book in place of plot. It added to it, but did not over power it. Though one complaint would be that some of that magic be explained some more. The healing scene at the end, I thought could do with a bit more explanation. I of course liked the romance between Ismae and Duvall...it was built up nicely....though I always have the same complaint about most romances...in that the declaration/realization of love happened a bit too fast. Though it was not as bad as others, for the most part I found it believable and enjoyed it. What intrigued me the most was the building mystery of Sybella, and I look forward to getting more answers in the next book as to her mission and role in the book's events and those after. I find her much darker than idealistic and somewhat naive Ismae...despite her being a killer. Excited for the next book.