I somewhat enjoyed this novel. I enjoyed the reviews and feel a little guilty giving the author only 3 stars when so many people (more than 2 on other sites) have raved about this book. Yes, the story is about a traumatized young woman who transforms into a male warrior for one year. She's supposed to become an animal, but because she was scarred and disfigured by fighters, her anger and defiance make her become the warrior instead. She can fight to get revenge and save others from abuse. What I enjoyed is that she never loses her sensitivity and desire to help women get treated better (than as slaves, subordinates, victims.) She often cries. That impressed me a great deal. She is also continually wounded as she overestimates the effort to fight untrained. Her sword and spear and shield often fight for her without her effort. Once her arm gets amputated, and the arm continues to fight on by itself. The reason I gave it only 3 stars, is because of the style. The different schools of martial arts all have names like, "The Baked Men," "The Spider Men," the "Angels," and the cities, houses have names. The names and phrases are hard for me to remember. For example, after Cara and Stefile return from their quest, the book reads, "In the Village by Long Water, a warrior and his supposed bride were suddenly seen to be living in the Important House. Liri Kerig who had left the house, would not say why she accepted them, or who they were." A lot of the action describes Cara's fights as though describing a myth. I would so much have preferred a more typical narrative stating how Cara feels from her point of view. This reminds me of folk tales. Folk tales and fairy tales often skip internal emotion and just narrate what happens. What's it like to be a man? Does Cara ever wonder? What does she look like? I agree that this is an excellent book, but it just isn't to my taste. I hope I have explained why. I kept trying to rewrite it and add the emotions that were missing as I was reading. But if you enjoy an unusual fantasy story with humor, horror, irony, vivid imagery, you will enjoy this book.