After an auspicious start, I hit a rough patch at about 25%. The heroine is having a break down, and it's most unpleasant going along for the ride through her narration. From sensible and strong and loyal, Vianne becomes irrational, self-damaging, and ridiculous. She won't eat, and her doubts would be comical if they weren't so damn repetitive and annoying, and unfortunately, are associated more with the sad "heroine doesn't know she's beautiful" trope than any more interesting character growth. I think the author assumed that the readers would enjoy thinking "Vianne just doesn't realize how *awesome* she is", but that just adds a layer of Mary Sue annoyance on top of her endless doubts, self-flagilation, and martyrdom. I find myself rolling my eyes and flipping pages faster.
43% - One step forward, two steps back... Vianne has little *glimpses* of awareness of Tristan's feelings or of her own capabilities (i.e. - of REALITY) , but still spends most of her time, energy, and narration on ridiculous plots to run away and martyr herself to rescue everyone else. Freaking ridiculous.
60% - Vianne has some alone time, huzzah! With no one around to martyr herself for, those glimmers of relience and self-sufficiency have come back.
Ok, by book's end I was excited again. Vianne's self-flagilation had wound down to a minimum. I bought book two prior to even starting book one (they were on sale), and I'm worried about starting the cycle all over again. This book reminded me strongly of FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK and SUMMERS AT CASTLE AUBURN... but only insofar as I wished I was reading those other books, not this one. This series may be dead in the water, though I'll at least give book two a try.