This is one of those books that I really wish I had read as a kid/teenager.
It's a very "old skool" military fantasy, with the exception that the bad-ass warrior hero happens to be a heroine. The narration starts sometime in the future and tells the story of Paksennarion, a headstrong girl who joined a mercenary outfit to escape an arranged marriage. Along the way we get a lot of training, details of camp and marching life, pretty good descriptions of war and pillaging, and discover that Paks has some sort of magical talent or ability. We're not sure how the magic system works, because Paks herself isn't sure of what's going on, but as this is the first part of a three part story, we might learn more later.
The characterizations weren't really strong, but it's not a character driven novel, in my opinion. The world building is solid, the plot was good, although it did get a little bit dry/slower with the training (and other) narratives. To be honest, I thought it was interesting and did not make me feel like I was slogging through it.
I think the biggest weakness is Paks, herself, which while being headstrong, is painfully naive and is a passive character much of the time and could be classified (pretty solidly) as a Mary Sue.
It is refreshing to have a non-heteronormative character (she's asexual) who is simultaneously breaking gender norms, and that there is a little bit regarding gender norms in the novel itself (this mercenary company, or at least the land where it is located does not consider women mercenaries to be noteworthy, whereas later they do do go to another land where it is unusual).
I can see why many people didn't love this book, but I really liked it, and will probably get around to reading/listening to the rest of the books in this... book.