To be the child of famous parents must be difficult. Especially when your mother is an incredibly accomplished knight who broke the gender barrier and you don't want to follow in her footsteps. I like Aly as a hero a great deal. Her decision to be a spy instead of a soldier, to laugh instead of scowl, and to find a path in a country other than Tortall make her very easy to connect with. The island slavery is also an interesting conflict, although I did take issue with her method of disguising herself at one point in the novel.
Anyway, fun YA fantasy centered around themes of race and politics. I recommend.