There is no way I can even begin to review this objectively because the book hit so many of my personal kink buttons ^^ - if I were in my teens or twenties I would have started hogging the author's backlist as obsessively as I did Mercedes Lackey when I discovered Arrows of the Queen for the first time. For me this book is a 4.5 stars on first read. It might become a favourite reread
In some way this trilogy reminded me of that experience. First of all you need to like quiet and shy heroines who haven't really got a plan for their own future. Compared to Talia, Cass is not repressed, she is simply fairly bookish and not massively attractive and so she has had a best girlfriend and she has had some experience with boys, but her main emotional stay and stumble-block is her mother (divorced) and in some ways her younger brother - at least when I consider the number of times they are mentioned.
You NEED to like Cass in the first 100 pages - first of all because they are mostly her alone, dealing with the situation she finds herself in, trying to survive and second because this is a diary entry book in first person. If you don't like her voice and herself you won't like the rest of the trilogy either. When she gets found and taken to the other planet, she reports on her talks as well, but it is always pre-selected according to what she remembers or wants to remember or when she has time to write it down.
I've written a huge spoilery squee at GoodReads under this user name, if you want to read all the details.
(reviewed 13 days after purchase)