Possibly verging on a 2.5
It was very confusing and jumped around. By the end, I was not materially any closer to understanding the story or what the characters were actually doing or who they were than in the beginning. Really, one of the poorest opening chapters for clarity that I have read in a looooooong time.And while I wanted to like Ivy, and the other two main characters, I found them flat. The dialogue did not sparkle, the characters did not invite you in, and darned if the plot did not confuse the heck out of me.
That said, I liked the premise, with poison rife and everyone afraid to eat. The description of the morale and the weather reminded me strongly of that of the country in The Tale of Desperoux
. The characters had potential. And Appelbaum has a good prose style, with good flair for adjectives and verbs, and descriptions. If she could simply work on character and personality, as well as make the plot more accessible, I might actually read the rest of the books in the series. As of right now, I don't see myself finishing it unless I hear good things about future installments.