This is the first Barbara Hambly novel I have read, and on the strength of it I doubt it will be my last. Her characters are likable, her world well-fleshed out, and the plot builds tension well and set up a fairly good climax and denoument.
However, it felt like there was a lot of chaff mixed in with the wheat of this story. It was told using a rather self-conscious mix of present-day action and flashbacks that advanced the plot -- a device which, while I don't object to it as a rule, is hard to pull off well. The descriptive passages were heavy-handed, and while there were some excellent moments where a particular description hit me with immediacy and accuracy, most of the passages felt like they simply had to be waded through. I might have enjoyed the book more if there were no wonderful little moments of description, as then I would have felt free to simply skim all those passages; as it was, I felt the need to keep a sharp eye out for those bright flashes, and my enjoyment suffered as a result.
The ending wrapped things up a little too cleanly for my tastes -- Kyra's changed relationship with her parents struck me as simply far too easy a cop-out, as was the resolution of her romantic dilemma -- but the happy ending isn't totally unearned, and does leave a pleasant taste in my memory. So all in all, while not earth-shattering in any way, this is a good afternoon's read and a solid addition to the romantic fantasy cannon.
I will never read another one of these books. This one was like having my nails ripped out millimeter by millimeter. There's no action, oddly placed descriptions, and it is centered on a heroine who is rather boring. The author spends so much time telling us what a rebel the heroine is, we never really get to see much in the way of rebellious behavior, or brave for that matter. I could not even finish this book, making it one of the very, very few I have not finished. I like characters you can dive in to, and you cannot do that here. These are surface descriptions, at best. It left me quite disappointed.
Set in the Silicon Mage universe but lacks the charm of those books. However, a good read despite that.
I love all Barbara's books, but this is by far my favorite! It is a stand alone book (i.e. not part of a series). The heroine is a smart woman and a sorceress. I highly recommend this book!
Good light reading, well written.