I think this book would have been better or me if I had liked the narrator. The mystery elements, the fantasy, and all other elements of genre fiction were all stellar, I just could not get into Portier's narrative.
I came across this book by way of an internet friend who swears by the series and I confess I did not go in with high expectations. However, the moment the trio (Portier, Illario, Dante) was formed and I knew more about the world... I wanted to know more and more and more.
Would I recommend this book to a friend? On it's own, no, but for it's place in the series... definitely.