4.5 stars - Wow! What kind of ending was that?!?! I'm totally stunned. I can't say I didn't have my hesitation, but I had not seen that one coming WHEN it did. I thought I had about 10 more pages to read, but apparently, it was the acknowledgement and the preview for Book 2, which doesn't come out for another six months!
Setting my shock aside, I thought this was a pretty awesome book. I love how the first line had me hooked, and it didn't stop from there. There was action from the start, and even the potential romance hit it off pretty much right off the bat. The setting, murder and conspiracy, the takeover of an evil ruler, the escape and journeying through the land and the route to take back the kingdom - definitely right down my alley.
The language was a bit brutal (it wasn't just formal Victorian or royalty speak, but it had a mix of French origin and also some made up words and concepts that were awkwardly put together) especially during the R'mini scenes, and it took me a while to go through, but not something I would hold against the book, given its setting.
Vianne is a bit of a ninny - her words, not mine - but instead of being irritated, I was rather amused that she was such a helpless dramatic damsel in distress. Even though I always love a girl that can kick butt, I hate the cliche guy teaching girl to defend herself if it's not written right, and I'm glad the concept wasn't forced into this book because I don't think it would have worked. But I like how her character grew to be the strong character she later became but still not losing her femininity. I'll save my words about other characters for later since I don't want to throw any hints out.