I'm glad I didn't read this book (the first book) first or I might not have persevered. Having read the prequel and knowing the potential quality of Trudi Canavan's work I was a bit disappointed with this one. It had a slight air of amateurism about it and was a little boring. However, the second and third books are much much better. Things start to unravel and we get to delve into more interesting plot lines.
Trudi does have a knack for keeping the momentum going which I very much appreciate and I really enjoy Sonea as a character, though I'm not very fond of Cery. A bit too much of him in the first book. I don't really know why I don't like him, perhaps because he moons over Sonea too much.
At any rate, the series is excellent even if the first book starts off a little slow.