There are sooooo many things I like about Hobbs books, and this one was no disappointment. The characters are the same as always,; well, even 'matured', if you may, so they show depth that others book not always show. The world is as beautiful and complex as ever, and then of course there's the politics and court intrigue... even if this one is but a prelude of what is to come.One of the things I like most of these books, outside of character and world development, is that no matter what book you pick up first, it's well explained enough and has enough references and tidbits, that you wouldn't really get lost if you started with the last and worked your way randomly through the trilogies. Sure, you'd be missing out on the typical details of understanding and backstory, but the gist of it is explained so that you know what happened before and aren't completely lost. I did find that this first one repeated itself a little where there was no need to. I thought it a bit odd, as I hadn't found the Farseer trilogy to be so, but it was only in a couple parts and not too noticeable, so it didn't bother me much.At any rate, I loved this book and can't wait to finish the other two.