Palace of Spies - Sarah Zettel I think I'd have to give this one a 3.5 to 4 stars. It was a little slow picking up, and there were times I really was just bored. But then there were parts where it picked up, and they were really good. The author really did try to avoid slow areas, by the way she would briefly skip over things, using the writing device of speaking to the reader directly. This was actually a refreshing aspect to the story, and gave it a comical feel. Usually books about court intrigue are more serious and that can get a little boring for me, even with all the spy intrigue going on. But the added comedy was much needed and really helped this story stand out to me.

I think the best part for me was the fact that while I had my suspicions, the actual "who done it" really took my by surprise. My guess was partially correct, but also was off at the same time. Also, I liked that the author would dumb down some of the more complicated plot aspects. If a particular part of intrigue was overly complicated, it was repeated in a more simplistic way. Thus even younger readers will fully understand what is happening.

One thing I really appreciate, as a reader, is that there is no cliffhanger. If you want to read more about what happens with the characters (and I do) then there will be another book. However, this book stands pretty much completely on its own. With so many books lately relying on cliffhangers to get readers to pick up their next book, I really appreciate an author who believes enough in their writing to not rely on the cliffhanger to hook the reader, and write a full story in one book.

*I was provided a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.