4.5/5; 5 stars; AI loved this book. It was fun and interesting, well paced and unpredictable. I really like the way this author portrays young people as competent and resourceful in her books. I liked the main female character, Ash, very much. Her resolve to find her benefactor's murderer at the same time as hiding from her past, making a new life, not getting killed and saving all and sundry from harm, made her a very busy girl indeed. The addition of horses into any story always add an extra draw for me and I enjoyed the bits of the story that included Arnth and Cloud Cat.One thing that the author did very well, was handle the hidden gender issue. I've read books before where a person is in permanent disguise as the other gender and the author gets all messed up on the pronouns. In this book, Ash was a female and since we, the readers, knew that, the author always referred to her in the proper gender. It was still perfectly clear that everyone else in the story thought of her as a male. I sincerely hope that Andrea K. Host is going to write more stories in this world. She alluded to some interesting women back in Thornaster's home country, such as his mother and sister. I hope there will be more stories including them as well as the young mage they had found and were returning to her homeland.