I've read 'The Barbed Coil' at least thrice - and I've even been magnanimous enough to loan it to all and sundry (well, those interested in fantasy, in any case!!!). In summary, it's brilliant! JV Jones's writing style is evocative, clear and detailed. Very quickly you find yourself immersed in the lives and events of the characters, and of the world that they're living in.
I have to say that Tess adjusted supremely well to her displacement from Earth, though, but while her lack of angst and relocation anxiety might be a problem for some, it didn't actually bother me all that much.
Also, the fight scenes in the book have made me look at battle-scenes from a very different perspective... JV Jones has done her research very well, and the employment of strategy, battle tactics, and sheer descriptive clarity can make one almost smell the carnage.
The Illumination - well, I've learned more about parchment-making and pigment-mixing than might be employed in my day-to-day existence, but hey, if I ever need a change of career, I think I'd be able to do scripts quite well (provided that actually DRAWING anything is not a basic requirement!). Actually, even though I was so involved in all aspects of the book, the description of the requirements for the illuminations and the magic surrounding the use thereof gripped me the most.
I could not put 'The Barbed Coil' down, and spent an entire day reading it the first time, so I would heartily recommend it. Don't approach it with preconceived notions of fantasy and what defines it - read it with an open mind and an open heart, and you will seriously gain great pleasure from it!!