Good story, pacing off
The magic trials and 'battles' are really fun. But the pacing missteps derail any tension. The excitement at the end happens without any build up.
It's steeped in courtly intrigue and barbs, if you like that kind of stuff. And there's some romance, but it's one of the things that derails, so it fell flat to me. I'm not sure if I'll check out the second of the series.