I liked it. Very readable.
It presents a thoughtful, if narrow, look at a political, social and economic breakdown in a country that has run itself into the ground paying for extravagances while the people starve every day. People are losing their jobs and homes. many are turning to robbery and bandits are rampant across the land attacking travelers and waylaying merchants. Everything is breaking down. To further complicate matters is the almost religious adherence to class and the strictures placed upon the citizens to never rise above the class they are born into.
Into this volatile situation comes Rain Glassmaker, the talented daughter of an artisan craftsman of Holt, where Queen Taoshira and King Ramil peacefully rule. She has come to help design stained glass windows for the Master, the deity king of Rolvint.
Rain is a lovely character and easy to like and root for. She is resourceful and even if she does indulge in the occasional fit of tears or uncertainty, she keeps going and insists on doing what she can to help others. She inspires other to do the right thing and to not simply wait for someone else to fix things or to merely look out for oneself.
I loved her elder sister relationship with Ret, the young Master. Ret himself is a fantastic character and who has such an inner core of duty and sacrifice when by all rights he should have been spoiled and ruined by the attitudes of those around him.
Mikel, the elderly bondsman who is a surrogate father for her when she is abandoned in this strange land with no friends or connections, not even speaking the language.
Then there is Peri, the falconer. Also the love interest. I really, REALLY struggled with that relationship because Peri is extremely controlling and high-handed with Rain for 87% of the book. That was irksome for me. I don't care if it is a common attitude. And I don't even believe that is was given his own parent's relationship. Regardless, it is demeaning and disrespectful in the extreme.
Example: First, he was going to find her, then shake some sense into her, and if that failed, kiss her until she forgot anything but him.
Seriously? There are many other small instances and some large ones where Peri demands to be allowed to make decisions for Rain and takes away her right to make her own choices. Not remotely balanced in his relationship with her. He does not trust not respect her enough to make her own judgements about where she should go or do. Is she always right in her actions? No. Does she take risks? Sometimes. But that never gives a person, especially a person claiming to love you, the right to take away your freedom and your ability to choose for yourself. Ugh. I'm sure it is not meant to be a controlling relationship and they do work things out, but for 4/5ths of this book I often just wanted to slap Peri in the back of the head.
So, pretty good read. A little heavy with all the killing and murdering, so be aware of that. Nice cameo from Ramil and Tashi for fans of Dragonfly.