3.5 stars, rounds up.
This is a nice, filling read. It satisfied like a good basic pizza satisfies: warm, packed with familiar flavors and cooked to a nice golden brown. The descriptions are lush without being wordy, the dialogue is snappy, and the characters are memorable, fun, interesting, people I enjoyed getting to know. I want to see them again, and I will be buying the sequel when I get word that it’s available for pre-order. Neither formatting nor grammar errors ever threw me out of the plot, and that’s worth mentioning. So I have.
More positives: I could relate to the protagonist’s emotions; I liked the fish-out-of-water premise of a tech-savvy modern woman dropped into fantasy setting premise; (I am on a serious portal fantasy kick, yes. I am not ashamed.) I enjoyed the fantasy setting on the far side of the portal; and I appreciated the way the romantic elements were woven into the progression of the plot without being forced. The magic system is consistent and not over-powering, and the difficult trick of presenting information through dreams and prophecy worked well too.
Negatives? No, really not. Nothing jumped out at me. It’s a pizza. Familiar is good, and I’m a grumpy old lady who loves pizza. In summary, it’s good stuff, and well worth a nibble. Give it a try.