Im going to give this 4 stars, pretty simply because I liked it. I think I have a thing for arrogant assassins (yep, Kill Bill 1 & 2, my absolute favourite movies of all time), because I loved the main character in all her arrogant, snotty and deadly glory. That said I wasn't entirely impressed by the eventual storyline. The set-up, despite being earily similar to Poison Study, had me excited; yet the final destination left me feeling a tad bleugh. The two love interests, Dorian and Choal were okay but slightly boring, and I couldnt help but wish they'd trended away from the love triangle, or stuck with Sam from the previous novellas. Of the two i'd say I like Dorian slightly better purely because we got to know him better, but on the grand scale they dont exactly "light a significant fire". Princess Nehemia was a strong secondary female character and hopefully we'll learn more about her in following sequels. The villians of this novel were another disspointment in comparison to The assassin and the Empire's Arobyn Hamel, whom I gather will reappear in future installments. Cain the villian of this novel was a bit 1 faced, the typical taunt but not a great deal of action action, backed up by mysterious magic with no real smarts about him. So to summarize; I pretty much loved it because Im a sucker for arrogant assassins, but storywise I wasnt overly impressed. However, having read the novellas I cant wait for the reappearance of the King of Assassins (Arobyn Hamel) in all his villainous glory, and Im much more interested in THAT storyline and Caelenas background.