I am very divided about this book. I wanted to rate this book at a 2.5, but I rounded up.I will start out to say that the writing is very sophisticated and flows nicely. The author uses descriptive vocabulary without going overboard. I actually enjoyed the technical aspect of Summers.But the characters are another matter.Corie - I did not find Corie likeable, special, or outstanding. She tries to come across as a unique, untainted country girl. However, she enjoys flirting with the prince, gossiping about particular ladies that she does not like, becomes jealous when her close male friends flirt with other women while she insists that she does not ever want to marry, and stirs up petty fights with her grandmother's apprentice. I did not like her in the least. She performed some noble acts, but she is overall childish, spoiled, and only thinks about her own gains. Elisandra - Beautiful name, flat character whom I found repulsive at the end. It is a wonder to see such a "sweet" woman deem fit to determine who lives or dies. She was a backstabbing coward.Kent- I actually liked Kent, except for his taste in women. If someone I loved told me that my life was worth less than another life, I'd drop her so fast her head would spin.Bryan - Flat, flat flat. I failed to believe he was so horrible that he deserved to die.I did like the ailora and the minor theme of slavery. That made the story stand out from the other thousands of girl-driven fantasy books.Not a bad book, but not an outstanding book, either.