Read along with Jessie!House of Shadows wasn't a terrible book. Neumeier wove together her plotlines with a cleaver hand, and some of her female characters broke the fantasy mould and contributed to the storyline instead of simply standing back to allow more room and action for their male counterparts. Her culture and her mythology inside of the story was highly compelling and somewhat beautiful.However, I cannot ignore the fact that the writing was flat out lazy. There was too much discussion about minor little details, such as the color of the ribbon in someone's hair, what was eaten for dinner, and the over-description of rooms and trinkets. The characters never seemed fully fleshed out, and tended to just fill a role instead of carry the story. Karah (Sue) was a perfect, beautiful, talented hack of a female character. And most of all, a majority of the characters knew what the other people were thinking, to the point that they would answer the questions that someone asked in their own head, without any explanation on mind reading or even facial expressions. The people in the book knew exactly what something was, right off the bat. And they just knew this information. For example: "Mage Ankennes was holding a thin white flute out to him. Nemienne knew, with a creepy horror even though she didn't understand why she was so sure, that this flute had been made of bone. She guessed further that it had been made from old, brittle bone..."In the next line, one of the characters just flat out follows up this THOUGHT with the origin of the bone. There was no discussion, no mind reading, no glance at the other character. One character observed something, and another character passes along the needed information with no prompting. This wasn't the first instance in the book that someone just instantly guessed correctly about some sort of event or item. If you enjoy fantasy, then you may enjoy this book more than I did.