Murphy has a gift with expressing emotion more than setting, and that imbalance is unfortunately obvious in a few spots. Her most annoying literary artifice is her swap between present and past tense depending on how the story is moving among the characters. Her best literary gift in this book - to me - is her descriptions of the transfer of emotions into actions: rage into words, joy into laughter, nervousness into blushing.
If you enjoyed Kushiel's Dart but would like something lighter and shorter, try this book. I was not particularly interested in that much sex mixed with the magic, but after I got over my initial annoyance, I could see where Murphy was trying to go with the theory. I'm not sure she quite got there, but I know this is only the first book in the series.