Warning! Small spoilers.
It's trite to say "I wanted to like this", because that's true with every book I pick up. I wouldn't bother if I didn't want to enjoy the story.
First the positives. Indiana Jones style story where the heroine is the co-star not a supporting role. The mechanics of the writing were solid. Great premise, not terribly innovative - but fun so who cares?
Now on to why this book scrapes by with a barely passing C- grade.
1. The all encompassing and irresistible instantaneous lust of Thalia & Gabriel. Yawn... Listen I buy whatever magical system you're selling (provided it has rules and follows those rules), but you don't get to make up your own rules for how humans interact with each other.
2. I can't tell you of my love because gosh! we're just so darn busy and it'd be a huge distraction. This is in addition to the fact I don't believe they're in love. They're hot for each other and have these glorious inner monologues about how much they respect & admire each other - because a) they are beautiful b) they aren't an asshole c) ummm... I'm hot for them?
3. Heavy handed set up for the 3 books that are going to follow. And I mean HEAVY.
4. Gabe's Mongolian. Maybe, just maybe I could've believed it IF it had been dealt with earlier in the book. Even a throw away line about picking up a few languages during his service. As it was, it was done too late and then his "few words" became basic conversational level in the matter of about two weeks.
5. With the exception of Batu, no one can get these two into bed with each other fast enough.
6. And the biggest insult to my knowledge of human nature. Tribe has the magical object. Tribe has massive good luck because of this object. Oh bad guys are coming? Oh yes, here take the source of our good luck and success. Bye! Have fun storming the castle. WTF? No. Fail. And this was just the biggest issue I had with Thalia & Gabe's interaction with the tribe.
All this being said, book 2 will get a chance. Because of the good stuff. I did love the basic idea. There were numerous flashes of authentic behavior from the characters (which probably served to make the mis-steps more glaring). And I liked the idea of Thalia, if not the execution of the character. But most of all, Archer gets a little gold star for resisting the urge to red shirt (Star Trek reference) Batu.