Enjoyable high-fantasy adventure. This has some strong parallels to [b:Kei's Gift|6513184|Kei's Gift (Darshian Tales, #1)|Ann Somerville|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1265508319s/6513184.jpg|6704943] (though it's not as good), with a healer as one of the heroes and a lot of cool explorations of different cultures, one with magic, and how they clash. Both leads were great and as usual, Somerville's secondary characters are especially vivid and satisfying. There tends to be a lot of movement and action in Somerville's novels; she does great invasion sequences, showing how ordinary citizens and governments react to the threat of invasion. This book also had a lot of fascinating stuff on slavery, which was very insightful and convincing.
Mild Spoilers: My biggest criticism is that Somerville's leads take forever to get together--this has been true of a lot of her stories. The heroes seize on any excuse not to have sex, and agonize endlessly about the reasons they can't have a relationship, which becomes annoying when the reader knows damn well they are going to end up together. After a while it makes the heroes seem almost like teenaged girls and adds plot difficulties that don't feel worth the pages--Paole's refusal to go visit Yveni after he was wounded felt anti-climactic. (There were elements of this in Kei's Gift, though the book was so intense it wasn't a problem, but it became downright painful in [b:Staying Power|7530028|Staying Power (Darshian Tales, #3)|Ann Somerville|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1266486194s/7530028.jpg|9771301].)
Overall though, I really liked this. Somerville is one of the best fantasy writers out there, and though this is not quite as good as the Darshian Tales, it's a compelling adventure story with two interesting, likable leads.