Before I being, I would say that the story was a 3, but the wonderfully constructed romance deserves a 5 star rating.I did like Mel, the main character, even if she did seem very cruel and at times, dim-witted, when she was capable of so much more. I did like that she was not against romance, she simply did not know HOW to engage in such an activity. And watching her delve through Court-life was such a refreshing change from the current slew of anti-girly female characters (aka, Graceling). Overall, Mel's attitude was one that I could relate to, and her honestly and lack of sugar-coating really helped me align with her. I just wish that the author had not made her out to be so mean to Danric.Even though the storyline was flimsy and rushed (seriously, all of the battle scenes should have just stated "And they fought..."), the romance between the two main characters was highly enjoyable! Even though I could see through the romantic plot, I still loved the final scenes of the book.This book could have been much longer, and more description of character development would have been welcomed. At times, I found the main characters to be very one-sided, and the plot was very rushed. However, the description of the Court and the social obligations was wonderfully designed.