Grrr...I want to rate this book a 5, but I have issues with Jerna's character. The story is great; more complex than you'd expect with layers played through various characters who transect Jerna's life. Part of me wants to wrap naive people in cotton batting and hide them from the world and other part wants to smack them upside the head and say, "Snap out of it!" And yes, the degree of patience lessens as the relative age of an individual increases. Maybe it's because I have chronic mistrust, but to blithely accept things at face value when one's own well-being is at stake is a big NO for me and this is where I disconnect from Jerna.His character is suppose to teach compassion and forgiveness and while I agree with these principles I don't subscribe to martyrdom. There are so many wrongs committed in this book that don't approach what I consider appropriate levels of redemption for the transgression that Jerna comes off as a doormat and frankly a liability to his friends and family. The only character that does make the journey of redemption is Ria. It is beautiful and well done. The sophistication of the resolution between not only Jerna and Ria is fine, but Jerna and Tyrme as well. After all this, lest you think otherwise I will be reading the sequels. One of the biggest strengths of this book are the sociological issues address: prison reform, majority repression of minorities, intolerance, and populace ignorance in things being done on their behalf.