Let me begin by saying this: I read the entire thing. Now, that may not seem like a glowing compliment, but I am not one of those people that reads a book simply because she picked it up. I am a writer myself, a college student, the mother of three children, and I work full-time. Furthermore, I am a mortal human being and I am dying as we speak. ;) I do not waste my time on reading boring books. If it's bad, I move on to something good. So when I say I read this from beginning to end, please understand that this is not a task I undertake lightly.
I think the reason I read it through was because of the pacing. Every time my mind would wander, every time I would get irritated and consider putting the book down, something crazy interesting would happen and force me to pick it back up. Really, the author gave me no choice. This book was so fascinatingly plot driven I just kept reading it.
All that said, there is a reason I gave this book three stars. Two reasons, actually. The first is that the characters did not behave like people. Half the time they behaved like a hot mess. At one point the behavior of one of the two women in the book was so ridiculous I actually rolled my eyes. Not because she was being bratty, but because she was being stupid. A pregnant woman does not pick a fist fight with a man, I wanted to tell her, that's no way to bring your baby to term. I almost put this book down at that point (not big on commitment, I) but right after that something interesting happened and I had to figure out what was going to happen next. Also, I couldn't understand why every person in the book was so desperately in love with Nicholas. He was a brutal, short-sighted little warlord. I guess he must have been really pretty? I really wanted his compatriots to see him for what he was, but that never happened, so that was a bummer.
The second star was for the editing. I know grammar is not the most important part of a book, and for some people story overrides it so thoroughly that they wouldn't even mention it, but personally, I feel that grammar is a very important tool for a writer and it behooves him to know how it works. Several times the author used the word "taunt" when he meant "taut." Also, the word "lie" was repeatedly misused. (As in, to lay, not to fabricate.) We all make mistakes like those, I must say, a couple of weeks ago I realized I did not know the difference between "further" and "farther." Fortunately for me, my writer's group caught it. Sometimes a second set of eyes makes all the difference.
So, in summation, if you are not a person who is super interested in grammar and you prefer a plot-driven story as opposed to a character driven one, this is the book for you. I would recommend it to friends who like their fantasy bloody and their smoky sex scenes boy-on-boy.