This book was nominated for the 2010 Nebula Award and is a debut novel. Two things that made me want to read it.
I liked it. The characters are interesting. The setting is small and fairly simple for such a large book. But I didn't get bored with being in the same environs the whole time. It flowed well and I read it quickly.
The first chapter promise is totally fulfilled.
However, the characters' names threw me off. The protagonist is Yeine. Which in my head was yeen, not a strong name (like Harry!). Another character was Sieh, which I pronounced sigh, but I felt that wasn't right and dithered over it a couple of times. The other one that threw me was Scimina. In my head it was sky-mean-a. Again, I felt like that didn't seem right. There is a glossary at the back. I wish it came with pronunciation of the names.
I've gotten that critique myself, about names--too similar, too hard to pronounce. It's a fine line when you take someone into another world. Names can be bizarre, but I think you have to give them simpler handles for the reader to hang on to. At the very least a pronunciation guide. I am going to pay close attention to the names in my stories and make sure they aren't distracting.
All in all it's a good read and I look forward to the 2nd book in the trilogy.