Although I found this book in my library's Adult Sci Fi/Fantasy section, it had a very Young Adult feel to it, for the most part. However, there are a few places where I was reminded that this is an adult-level book - including the point where Yelena and [Valek (hide spoiler)] consummate their relationship. There's no explicit sex in the book, but it's clear from the text that they do have sex. Also, since Valek is an assassin and a spy, there's an above-average amount of killing in the book. Add to that the fact that one of the main characters had been raped (prior to the events in the book), and the psychological torture committed on one of the characters, and this is possibly a bit too adult a book for young teens.
Of course, this was right up my alley - not the rape and torture and maiming and killing, but the magic and swords and whatnot. Yelena, condemned to be executed for murdering the son of her benefactor, is given the opportunity by Valek to become the food taster for the Commander, the country's leader. Since plots and intrigues abound, there is a very real chance that she will be poisoned, so by saying yes, she may have only postponed her death. Working for Valek, she is soon caught up in all the aforementioned plots and intrigues, while also trying to avoid attempts on her own life by people hired by her former benefactor. Add some magicians, some nasty-sounding spiders, a snow cat or two, and it's pretty exciting stuff