I loved this book for its wide-ranging scope and the depth of the world behind it. Epic fantasy, especially these days, is full of characters running about and interacting- you can easily get dizzy. The difference in my opinion is whether there's a confidence to the writing, a sense that your attention to all these new things will be rewarded.
Tracy Falbe really delivers in Rys Rising- from the way magic works, to the customs of the different kingdoms and tribes, to songs and athletic contests and so much more, she carries the reader with a sure hand. I particularly appreciated two things- her commitment to describing the world in detail, and the way she helps you feel sympathy for the main characters by placing them in predicaments. Even when I questioned a motivation or a choice, I was fully engaged in the events she was showing me.
Don't want to spoil it with too much now, but I think you won't be disappointed with the effort you invest in this story. The pace picks up towards the end and incredible things start to happen. This is a great joy for the reader, because the rest of the series beckons and I have great hopes that the next books will be just as much fun as Rys Rising.