OK, it deserves 4 stars for originality in world building and the unique magic system he portrays. I like how this wasn’t the innocent farm boy who discovers the nugget of ultimate goodness within himself and is urged on to destroy the evil lord with the cudgel of supreme force by the beautiful princess he can never hold hands with…blah, blah, blah. Here we have a street girl who doesn’t trust anyone, is recruited into a gang but doesn’t lead the way. A satisfying, if slightly bloated story. The first 500 pages are not that exciting (except the opening scene does grab you strongly). The last 100+ pages are very good. Weaker points include not really painting the “skaa” slave population sympathetically-the whole point is to help free them. Also the magic system is not all that well developed, even if it is unique. Good enough to keep going though!