I always love how real Shannon Hale's characters are. No one is completely good or evil, people make mistakes and people do things for their own reasons that they believe to be just. I also like how she builds the conflict so that things seem to be completely doomed and yet, somehow it always works out well in the end. I loved learning about a culture, people and emotions that seem so honest. Hale definitely has a knack for making you care about events and characters in her books. It's been a looooong time since I've read the first book in this series, and yet I was able to pick up everything just fine. I'd recommend this to pretty much everyone and anyone!