I think had I encountered this book for the first time at age 12 I would have adored it. As-is, it's sweet and touching (and the unusual structure is pulled off amazingly well), but it doesn't really have the depth to capture my adult heart. Solutions come too easily; people behave, always, as predicted. There are also some very dated aspects that make it obvious the book was written in the 70s. (Engdahl was clearly heavily influenced by the John Campbell era of science fiction, for example; psionics are the ultimate sign of an advanced civilization.)
The relationship dynamics intrigue and puzzle me. I am not quite sure what we're supposed to make of Elana's continued assurance throughout her romance with Georyn that of course she'll marry Evrek, even as she and he barely interact and seem to have no chemistry at all. Is the idea that an advance civilization is also beyond such primitive notions of marriage for love? I wish the Elana/Evrek dynamic had been explored more, since it had the potential to be one of the most interesting in the book. That may, ultimately, be what drives me to pick up the sequel.