Anyone read Pegasus by Robin McKinley?
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Also, it's part 1 of 2 and the end is a cliffhanger. Part 2 is supposed to come out sometime next year, I think.
The cliff hanger ending was a bother though.
Very biased opinion, since I love everything Robin McKinley writes, even when it doesn't seems as if the story would work/appeal to me:-)
I don't know about the "not already a fan" bit. It was the first book by her that I read, and it prompted me to seek out more by her.
I actually liked it better than most recent McKinley, though I can understand the criticisms above, particularly about the rambling. That's something that McKinley has always done to some extent, but I feel that she has really let herself go (or her editor has let her go, or something) in the past four or five books. I wouldn't go so far as to not recommend it for that reason; just go in knowing that it's going to be rambly and end in a cliffhanger, and you may find you really like it. And if you don't like it, don't write off all McKinley on that basis -- try some of her earlier stuff before making that judgement. (I know from McKinley's blog that she hates it when readers say that her early stuff was her best, but I have to admit that I'm one of the people who hold that opinion.)