I really really enjoyed this book, much more than I thought I would. And Valek, I don't normally tend to like male characters quite as much as I like Valek, but there was something about the way he is written that just makes him seem so genuine, and that really is a sign of good writing. Yelana grew on me, I wasn't into her all that much, she seemed a bit whiny, particularly for a murderer, but as the book got on and she realised things and realised what she was thinking I started to like her. Definatley enjoying the dynamics of team Yelana-Valek (and wouldn't want to be against them or anything!)
The big twist, every novel has one though sometimes they are smaller, and this one I did not expect on any level, took me completely by surprise, though thinking about it there are some clues early on that should have clued me in! Though I don't think that the big twist actually changes anything about the story, it explains why there are no magic users in Ixia, but other than that it isn't actually a big plot point.
One thing I did kind of struggle to figure out was what genre this book fits into, I don't think I fully came up with an answer in my head, I guess fantasy simply by virtue of the fact that magic plays a part in the story, but that seems too broad. For me it just doesn't seem to fit any, which personally I think makes a good book!
All I can think of now is how much of a shame it is that I have a lot of books to get through before I can read the sequel Magic Study!