Upon finishing this book, I was angry. I did enjoy the novel, and I really liked the characters and enjoyed spending time with them. I appreciated, understood and empathized with Joanna and her fears and her purse. But, the writing wasn't great to me - my mind wandered a lot while I read - and I didn't find it difficult at all to step away from the world. So, while I enjoyed the novel, and would have rated it a solid 3 stars, I was not completely sure I wanted to read the next in the series as I have other books calling me and I just wasn't thrilled. I was, however, encouraged by others to pick up the next one - and told it would be worth it. And, indeed, it was. So much so, that it brought my rating of THIS book up a star.
As an aside, I find it fascinating how many novels of this era compare computer programming and magic.
The first half of this book is really a set up for the second half, so movement is slow. The movement picks up a bit when our three heroes meet up with each other and they begin their journey together. I have wondered if I wouldn't enjoy the story more if this book and the next were not simply one novel, but, in the end, I agree with the decision to separate them. They are, indeed, two journeys taken by the same characters.
All in all, I did enjoy this story. But, be prepared with the second if you want to totally appreciate the book.