The first thing that excited me was the description of the main character, Ciardis. She is described as having darker skin with curly dark brown hair and golden eyes. To me, she sounds either non-white or of a mixed ethnicity, which is the first I have ever seen in young adult book.
I also appreciated that it took her much longer to learn how to do everything. As a person who struggles with coordination and knows how long it can take to learn a new dance or ride a horse, I can safely say that the timeline for this is pretty accurate.
In a similar vein, I appreciated the lack of the "remove something little and she's beautiful" trope. It was described repeatedly that Ciardis' mentor, Lady Serena, was disgusted by her lack of hygiene and how intensely her skin would have to be taken care of, to say the least.
The only thing I didn't like was that this could have used a read over for someone to check the spelling. It generally was good enough and the few spelling errors that did come up were mostly easily overlooked by the good story within.