Although fantasy is not my usual genre of choice, I enjoyed this book a lot. For one thing, unlike most fantasy books, this book contained no magic or magical and mythical beings. Just a lot of humans who had to rely on solely on their wits and intelligence to survive. Other than the lack of magic, though, it followed the classical fantasy set up. For one thing, the story takes place in an alternate world where swords and knives are the weapons of choice, and horses, carts and ships are the methods of transportation. In addition, the plot centers around a girl, who is the first female to be allowed into the secret assassins academy. She must compete against a number of males, some of which have been raised with the whole purpose of becoming assassins. How she uses her intelligence and her totally human skills to survive is a great story.
The characters which Rachel has included in the story are engaging and fun to read about. Most of them are multi-faceted, and you get the distinct impression that they are not always what they seem to be on the surface. One of my favorite parts of the book were the times when the various characters had to figure out challenges. Here again, the surface was only a part of what was actually required to complete the items, and the characters had to look at the many layers in order to be successful.
In addition, this book is the first of a trilogy. I am looking forward to the next installment to see how the story progresses and the characters develop.