To start with… wow! This is the first book in a series, and it starts off with a wonderfully strong beginning. Though a few pieces are left a bit ambiguous, this may be because they are lead ins for the next book(s) in the series. The main characters are wonderfully written, and the dichotomy between the two lives of the main protagonist are crystal clear. Even after reading the description and seeing some of the discussion in one of my author’s groups on Goodreads, I was not prepared for the wild ride of bouncing back and forth between the two roles of the protagonist heroine that occurred. This is something like Batman on steroids.
In one life, the character is a meek little mouse, trying to fend her way through the male dominated jungle of the profession she wants, yet in the other life, she is a brash young lady with expertise to spare and enough enemies to make you think her choice for a second profession is a bad one. Add in a family that doesn’t want or trust her, and you have a recipe for explosive action, and a wonderful read.
As for the age ranges – Ms. Usher has a book that is suitable for all ages. It might skirt just a hairline close to diving a bit too deep into religion, but since the focus of the problem plaguing the heroine is the nucleus for the character’s religious beliefs, you can’t really get away from it. I loved the pacing, complexity, and depth provided to the story, characters, and setting. The only nitpicky thing I might have to pick at is that some of the secondary characters look good on the surface, but are shadows and illusions – there isn’t and feeling of solid substance under the surface.
Over all, I liked this one enough to hand it a rating of 4.5 of 5 stars. The half star may be awarded when I can read the next book in the series. As I said earlier, there are a few things that would make it a little stronger if they were cleared up. But, they also make wonderful leads for the next book.