I really wanted to like this book. And I truly thought that I would. I found the world building to be quite good and the prose was lovely. However I just...didn't...care. I never became emotionally invested in the story. I really and truly did not care which magician won the "duel". The only character I developed any sort of attachment to was Bailey.Something just really hit me the wrong way in that this is a story of two children whose lives are dedicated to a task that neither ever consented to. Perhaps much of my dislike was fed by my inability to get this fact about the premise out of my head."Written in rich, seductive prose..." is certainly true and is the best part about this book. I imagine you'll like this book if you love lush descriptions and slowly sinking into a wholly other world. But you'll have to love that above all else, including plot and character development. The description tells you that the two main characters "tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands." Perhaps the first flicker happens maybe halfway through the book? Possibly a bit more after half. That's how long you have to wait to get a brush of hands. Imagine what's been going on plot wise so far in the first half of the book. Yeah.If you're okay with a book that takes that sort of slow pace then this might very well be for you. It's just certainly not for me. I don't demand constant action in the books I read but I do demand consistent plot development and a reasonablepace. The pace of this book is slower than molasses.And the romance...uh, how exactly do they fall in love? They barely interact, barely know who the other is for over half the book. And, I mean...I am a person who admittedly falls in love with my book boyfriends (jesus, I mean I refer to them as "my book boyfriends" okay??) way faster and irrationally than is probably normal. So it's really bad when even I don't buy the romance. This book is all pretty imagery and no substance. Overall, a huge "meh" from me.