This book was fantastic.I'll admit, it was a slow read. It's a big book. It happens. But there was always some kind of action that would pick it back up before it got TOO slow. The romance was entertaining. I actually did enjoy this love triangle. I'm not sure it's really a triangle, but it's closer than most things called love triangles, so let's go with it.I really liked the characters. Alera and her brother and the boys were all wonderfully done. I hated who I should've hated and liked who I should've liked and rooted for certain characters.It was very well written. I was worried because it was self published first and I am biased like that, but it was really good and kept me engaged.This was just a really good fantasy book. There's not as much fantasy in YA like this, so it's refreshing to read it when it's there. Just a really amazing book and I'm excited for the sequel.