An enjoyable fantasy story about a kingdom (and an odd-couple wizard duo) fighting a malevolent, powerful, and infinitely patient forest spirit. The forest spirit is somewhere between the omniscient antagonist in _The Wise Man's Fear_, and the distributed and near unkillable giant plant from the Ruins. I liked it! The characters were neat, the writing is snappy, the world building is fine, the magic is crunchy, the antagonist is interesting, and all together it just lays out a nice Dominions 3 scenario. Even more than Novik's other books, this one is a romance in addition to an action story. I find most romances to be boring and templated, and have difficulty paying enough attention to read them. However! With this book and with Jacqueline Carey, I've learned that I can actually get into Romances, so long as you warm me up first with 150 pages detailing the strategic/magical balance of power :) As with Novik's other books, these were not great literature, but they are at least well-constructed & enjoyable pandering that I enjoyed reading.