I never know to say in these things. I guess that says something about me. I read a lot, write stories, and like books. I like a good debate. Nothing else is to say. :-)
I could not put this book down, and lost a whole night's sleep because I kept thinking: Okay, just one more chapter! What made this book so great was not only the writing: which was lush and dark and made every smell, and cry and sound in the book seem real, but also because of the main characters...who pulls you into her world and never lets go.
The world Firethorn lives in is bleak and harsh and unyielding. She is born of the lowest caste in her world, but worst yet she was born a woman. She is a mudborn and because of this she is viewed as having less value than most women, and treated as such. The highborn men, the Blood, use mud women as basically playthings to use and throw away when they grow tired of them. They view them as less than people, and have little value for their lives, nor care about their suffering. There is little choice for Firethorn and other women in her position, and they all live harsh lives and sometimes have even harsher deaths. But the women of the Blood are only slightly better off. Their only purpose is marriage and having offspring, and if that is not possible...to be a concubine and birth bastards that have no claim on their Clan lands and it's offerings. There are traded and sold like property, and when they are "damaged" they are discarded like useless trash. If one thing this book was good for was in making me grateful to be born in a time where women have a lot more freedom and choices than was previous given to them. The plight of the women in this world made me angry and sad all at once. The injustices that Firethorn has to endure at various points in the book made me hot with anger, made my heart jump in my throat. At times I felt like crying with her. This is how powerful a grip this character has. I love books with Strong characters...this book did not fail me.
Of course this also had tons of action, and battle scenes...boy are there battle scenes, and brutal ones at that. And it is like you are right there with Sire Galen when he kills and fights. Sire Galen..he was and remains a bit of a mystery since the book is told by Firethorn...but he is also a great character. Flawed: jealous, rash, and quick to anger...but you see why Firethorn is so devoted to him. He is also charming and handsome and brave, and he loves her. That is plain. He becomes worthy of her. I can go on, but I don't want to long a post. But I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series. Excellent.