This is an extraordinary first book in a series. It's a complicated world to describe while keeping the action spinning. Cassie Palmer is a compelling character, wise beyond her age and amazingly intuitive, probably as a result of the environment in which she was raised. While there were segments of the story that lagged when background information was provided, the book didn't waste too much time and would quickly resume the action.My head was spinning trying to keep track of the obvious villains and those who might be. Nothing was ever as clear as it might seem and I had to keep my wits about me to keep up. I'm normally frustrated with a heroine like Cassie who might make silly decisions in the midst of all the chaos but she's formidable. Cassie is quick-witted, funny and talented. And, she's not intimidated by any of the power around her.I'm a fan of the series and am looking forward to the next book.