I enjoyed this book a lot, the first half to three-quarters perhaps more than the rest, but overall, it felt different, exciting and intelligent.
Many of the characters of this world have to talk forcefully and often arrogantly to try and get what they want. In a way, performing magic is arrogant, it’s meddling with things that occur naturally, and you have to be confident you know what you’re doing otherwise you could do some real damage. Bard is an interesting lead character, on the one hand I could feel sympathetic for her ambition and her not feeling fulfilled, on the other hand, she didn’t help herself by being rude or by demeaning other people and their work. That conflict, knowing that at some point all that would land her in real trouble, made the story interesting. It’s a bit of a lesson in tempering your ambition with learning to appreciate what you have.