I'll fully admit during the first 300 pages, I hated this book. I had considered quietly taking off the reading status and selling the book. I hated to think that so many people recommended this book, and I was struggling to finish the story. My main issue with the book was Evanjalin. She was rude, snotty, and outright demanding. Then, much to my chagrin, a majority of the characters just fell in love with her. She placed herself in danger, talked down to everyone, and lied to get what she wanted. Then I got to the big twist. I put the book down for a while and thought this over. And it all came together. Her motives matched up, her attitude was put into a different light, and everything about her that had bothered me added up. Even the final scene between her and Finnikin was one of the sexiest, sweetest confessions that I have ever read. Setting-wise, this book was a wonderful celebration of a real fantasy world. It was gritty and beautiful. In her own way, Marchetta created a very pro-feminine book without the usual fuss that accompanies such a text. She clearly states that for equality to exist, then respect and humanity must exist. Oddly enough, a majority of the violence was directed towards the women. However, in Marchetta's world, women were allowed to be strong, men were able to love, homosexuality was treated with equality, people were honest, wrongs were repaid, and the good won with a heavy price. During the last 100 pages of the book, I didn't want the story to end. I hope to see Perri have his own book one day (he turned out to be my favorite, and the revelation towards the end made me squeal) and I hope that Froi is a good sequel. I think I have adjusted to Marchetta's writing style, which should make the second book a little easier to read.