This story didn't sing for me the way her other books have. I can't put my finger on what put me off. The main character is a young boy, but I don't think that's it.
Maybe it had too many themes. It could be a coming of age for Bridei and Tuala. It is also historical (pre-historical?) fiction based on the Picts in Scotland. It is also the student and prodigy sort of thing with the boy learning Druidic magic. And there's a smattering of fairy folk in the Midsummer's Night Dream sense of them watching and manipulating humans. The political maneuvering and grooming of Bridei as the future king give it an Arthurian flavor. And then there is a bit of a longing, pining love story, too.
There's a lot in there. I think it might be a bit too heavy on the history and locale for the fantasy topic to fly.
I have to admit to scanning some chapters because I just didn't care about those characters.
It is the first book in a series and I am ambivalent as to whether I will go on to book 2.