Stylistically, this book reminded me of '80s sword and sorcery adventure novels. All the characters were human, with no armies of goblins to kill, but it was a pretty clear warrior mages go on quest for McGuffin narrative with lots of speeches about love, honour and the end of the world. The bad guys are bad, and the good guys are promoting women's rights and literacy. I grew up on this style, so I'm happy, but compared to the current fantasy mode, it could come off as a little stilted.
The characters are all very dramatic! Our heroine has a missing sister, a lost lover, an oath of loyalty to her people, a shield sister, and magic powers! Her love interest is similarly endowed, and... we don't get as much of the secondary characters, but conflicting loyalties is the theme. Probably the best aspect of the book was each character's background changing how they interacted with all the different groups and peoples they run into.
There's a lot of romance. The main pairing is the heroine and her ex, and neither of them can seem to work out that him asking her to quit her job and marry him is unreasonable, especially given that her job is saving the country. I think it fits with the moralities and backgrounds of the characters, but I kept wanting to yell at them. Also pretty much every guy has a slight fetish for our heroine given that female warrior mages are a rarity, so she's constantly trying to negotiate being lusted over, while not wanting them but still having to deal with them politically.
I feel like the relationship with our heroine and her sidekick (and the other women warriors) was underdeveloped. They had a lot going on, and we mostly didn't see it go anywhere. It was nice to read a book where all the characters were (fantasy) Muslim, and that was basically not an issue.
If it's a dealbreaker for anyone, the book does end on a total cliff hanger, and lord knows when the next one will be out.