I've been following Julie's carreer (follow the link to her website on the right) ever since her first book THE BAKER'S BOY was published, and have been waiting for this new book for five angonizingly long years! She may not be as successful as J.K. Rowling, but I think she's a far better writer. Yes, I know I haven't read enough of Jo Rowling's work to make this a fair arguement, but Julie's writing is at least just as good. Her words create images that just leap off the page, and characters that seem equally real despite the unreal world they live in. Julie doesn't write to type, and doesn't necessarily follow the "typical" fantasy structure. She's somewhere between George R.R. Martin and J.R.R. Tolkien, but definately in a league all her own.
I haven't been this excited in a long time!