I can't really say that I am overly thrilled to have chosen this book for my first book of 2013. Why am I not happy? Well... it was boring!I just cannot put to words the feeling of the big giant MEH that kept flooding my mind while reading. To be honest, I wasn't really expecting much. I picked this up on a spontaneous trip to my local library, and as usual, the library wasn't supporting any book that I really wanted to read anytime soon, so I did the next best thing and picked up a book that I thought would justify the hours spent reading it. I can't honestly say if that was time spent well or not. MEHFiona McIntosh is not an author that I am familiar. I know that she is an Australian author, and living in Australia, this is no doubt the reason the library held many of her books. Why did I pick this book over her more popular series? It is a stand alone novel. I have started, and barely completed, so many series that I just wasn't interested in starting another one. But enough talking about me and my weird, and boring, selection of this novel. Let's talk about the novel itself!This book is very well written. There wasn't a misspelled word, a weirdly-phrased sentence or even any distracting uses of words that I saw. That alone is why I have rated the books three stars rather than one or two. The problem I had was that nothing really spectacular occurred. Even the climax at the end wasn't really a climax. It was explained! Before it even happened! Ugh... Fynch explains to the three boys exactly what is happening and what they each have to do. And guess what? That happens and the demon dies!Surprise!*rolls eyes* Very anticlimactic.Every problem had a neat little solution. Darcelle dies and cannot be wed to Tamas? SOLUTION! Make the queen Tamas' instant love of when he was a young man and she was an eight year old girl...sitting on his lap!"And I was enchanted by you. You sat on my knee..."Yeah I bet you were enchanted, you pervert.Here's another one. The cathedral guards are in the way of the queen, Cassien and Gabe's escape and Cassien must kill them? SOLUTION! Justify their death by making them raping, brutal idiots: "The guard sighed. 'Do not hurt the woman unless she draws a weapon. The other two can be killed if they resist.''Wait!' the queen said, stepping forward.'She can die too, if she doesn't submit. I might even let you have some time with her,' the guardsman joked with his companions.'I take it back, Cassien,' Florentyna said, her voice sounding like ice splinters. 'Do what you must.'"It's just too convenient! The author took the easy out here and justified it by having the guards say this. SighThe characters were well developed, but a little boring. I wasn't too happy about the introduction of Cassien, in particular this paragraph:"He never understood why he'd been sent away to live alone. He's known no other family than the Brotherhood - fifteen or so men at any one time - and no other life but the near enough monastic one they followed, during which he'd learned to read, write and, above all, to listen. Women were not forbidden but women as lifelong partners were. And they were encouraged to indulge their needs for women only when they were on tasks that took them from the Brotherhood's premises; no women were ever entertained within. Cassien has developed a keen interest in women from age fifteen, when one of the older Brothers had taken him on a regular errand over two moons and, in that time, had not had to encourage Cassien too hard to partake in the equally regular excursions to the local brothel in the town where their business was conducted. During those visits his appetite for the gentler sex was developed into a healthy one and he's learned plenty in a short time about how to take his pleasure and also how to pleasure a woman."Oh really! So,we are too distracting to make a life with, but bedding us is totally ok? Gentler sex? Healthy relationship in that women are viewed as sex partners only and are not deemed important enough or, dare I say it, smart enough to be part of this sexist world? Ok, it may actually not be as bad as that, but I am downright tired of reading historically based novels to find similar, and much worse, descriptions as these. We get it. Women were deemed as the lesser sex for most of our history in a lot of cultures. WE ALL KNOW. Now, can we please move on?! Not every historical novel has to rehash this every damn time.There were other instances too (many more, in fact) such as the whole situation with Vivienne, which I will not go into, and Cyricus' outlook on women as a whole. For example, were given this awesome bit of thought after Cyricus switches bodies from a woman to a man:"On the plain outside Hynton, Cyricus, in his new guise, was feeling released from the increasing sense of entrapment he'd begun experiencing as Darcelle. It was a pity. He had wanted to be a Morgravian royal, had anticipated its many benefits, but the reality was that travelling as a woman had too many pitfalls... and travelling as only the second-most-important woman in the land was not good enough."OH REALLY! So, even the second most important woman in the land is still not good enough for this demon to possess?And there are so many more instances like these that, again, I will not go into.Despite the observations above, I still didn't really have a big reaction to the book as a whole. The remarks to women and the in depth explanation of situations before they even happen still didn't incite much feeling from me.I don't really have much more to say other than what I have. It was on ok book, but I doubt I will venture into other McIntosh books. I just have a feeling that this very old cliche portrayal of women is going to be a constant in this world, and I'm just not that interested.