This is absolutely my favorite book of all time! I have recommended it to more people than I could ever count. This book has it all: action, mystery, romance, magic, religion, politics, comedy, and so much more.
It is different from the typical Epic Fantasy in that there really isn't a physical quest to find any talisman or complete any action. Almost the entire story takes place in the area of two cities that are very near each other. At the time I first read this book, I found this bit to be so refreshing.
The magic system is trully unique, and discovering some of its mysteries is a key part of this whole book. Following the progression of the discoveries was absolutely fascinating.
Sarene (the female lead) is an amazing woman. She is courageous, intelligent, and strong of character. She does many amazing things and pushes herself to help others. She's just awesome!
Raoden (one of the male leads) is the perfect man for Sarene. He is also intelligent, courageous, and strong, but he also trully sees people. I find this quality spectacular in people as they can really accomplish things, and they tend to be really good people.
Hrathen (the other male lead) has a strong character as well. His character grows a lot throughout this book, and I really like that he thinks for himself. His side of the story really focuses on religion and his mentality was interesting to learn about.
There is a bit of romance in this book as well (for all the ladies out there!) which really added to everything.
The fact that this is Sanderson's first book, showed his true potential as an amazing writer. I first read this when it was his only book out, and he became my favorite author. I have read everything his has published since then and I have never been disappointed.