Enjoyable, but my enjoyment was hampered by its very YA-ness. The characters are all likable, the world is interesting, and the prose gets very much out of the way of a story that kept me turning the pages, but everything was too EASY. There were good characters and bad characters with no shades of grey (and c'mon, a decadent, evil emperor and the only description he gets is that he's grossly fat? really? THAT'S what makes someone evil?), and the good characters always seemed to have more than enough power to topple the bad characters -- there was no true sense of jeopardy, because every challenge the good characters faced they overcame with relative ease, even though they had no idea what they were doing. I much prefer the writing of Dickinson's wife, Robin McKinley -- also mostly YA, and with the same stark contrast between good and evil, but at least her characters sweat and bleed for their victories, and nothing is ever just handed to them.