I simply do not have time to write full length thoughtful reviews right now, sorry, so here are my quick thoughts on this:
Really liked this! I enjoyed particularly that Sydelle wasn't slobbering all over North the moment she met him. Despite that she always dreamed of leaving her small desert drought ridden town she isn't a complete teen yokel when rugged and mysterious wizard man walks in to twist her away from everything she knows. 2 pts for Sydelle. I liked the disagreements between North and Sydelle, they seemed authentic and realistic.
I did not enjoy the Queen. Yeah- wish washy much? In fact I hated her guts. It spoiled an otherwise great book for me. I mean it didn't *ruin* the book, but it irked me a whole lot. Particularly because she was very dismissive and her decisions are unforgivable to me. Well we can't like very character in every book right? It isn't as if the Queen is the primary character, or even the villain, but damn, I really wanted to shoot her in the face. Sue me, I'm human. Very very human. ETA: The Queen is admirable certainly- but I root for Sydelle. The Queen can shove it.
Otherwise this was a great book if you like YA, but you don't have to be a YA addict to enjoy this (I am NOT a YA lover, I read them when I find the plot compelling for whatever reason but most YA tends to be either stupid or dystopian and I hate both unless it's entertaining).
So you like wizards, magic, light fantasy and red hair and plucky heroines? Get this.