It took a while for this book to grab me. The beginning seemed bog-standard fantasy; a young boy raised in obscurity who suddenly learns he's the son of a king? Yawn.
Then the political machinations take off. Boy, do they take off. I spent the last several hundred pages engrossed, never quite sure of who was going to do what. The ending had satisfying closure but still sent me rushing out to find the sequel. (Six bookstores later, I still haven't found it, but hey, that's what the Internet is for.)
The one down note for me was the book's typecasting of women. Female main characters came in three types: virgins (good), married mothers of main characters (ineffectual), and unmarried but sexually active (evil). One woman starts a world-wide cult of human sacrifice to get in the bed of the man she desires (and power, of course); another woman drugs a man and falsely accuses him of rape to gain the sympathy of her love interest (and to gain power, of course). Way to show female desire as a normal, neutral part of life, there.