From the reviews I read, I expected more from this novel. While the author turns a few particularly lovely phrases here and there, I found the stilted language of the characters exactly matches that of the narration, whether the scenes are appropriate to such floweriness and/or melodrama or not. Anachronisms continually break the fragile sense of setting, point of view wavers from paragraph to paragraph, and there is little if any real tension. Without tension, there is nothing to invest the reader in the fate of the characters. When the possibility of conflict does arise, the protagonists immediately surrender.
We are told the alleged antagonist is dangerous and frightening, but he does nothing particularly sinister beyond a few threats that have little weight behind them. In spite of this, a woman gives up her family and comfortable life at his bidding to serve him as a prostitute; her 'loving' husband sighs at her sweet sacrifice and lets her languish. People drop like flies in this tale, but they have not been given enough character for the reader to care about them.
The underlying dramatic framework holds a lot of potential. The author clearly put considerable time into developing the framework of history and and various societies, but there is far too much telling rather than showing (particularly between characters that would - or should - clearly know the information). It's as if the tale is told from a distance, and we are only occasionally allowed into the actual lives and thoughts of the characters, and usually only for a few brief moments (usually at a tavern) while they tell each other how things are.
Again, plenty of potential in the emotional circumstances and in the idea of the world, but an unfortunately poor follow-through.