This is my favorite young adult fiction author, but when I read this series many years ago, it didn't appeal to me like her other books did. This series takes place in a different world from the Song of the Lioness books, and the characters are rather more juvenile. I did, however, like it better this second time than I did when I read it long ago. Her writing is still approachable and engaging, and the world she created is interesting and full. I still don't like how juvenile the characters are, but then they are all about 9 or 10, whereas Alanna started out as 11 in the Lioness series. I will read the other books, to see if they get better, since I love Pierce so much. I'd probably start a young reader on these before introducing them to the Lioness books.