I have to give the book credit that this is a very well-done bit of world-building. The magic system is what this book is really about and it is incredibly well-detailed. It affects the users, the society, the religion, and every other element of the world. It also isn't your typical Vancian magic or "functional magic" world where sorcery works just like a computer program (i.e. enter the correct code then something happens). No, it is something that works in an entirely unique way and that is the best part of the book.
Corina is a fun character who goes through a somewhat typical fantasy heroine's journey. She discovers her special powers, realizes the Evil Empire is out to get her, and then has to flee in order to join a plucky resistance. THE LORD OF THE RINGS and STAR WARS are not anything to be ashamed of as a basis, though, nor any of the other stories which use their classic archetypes.
There is a few shakeups which I enjoyed about the setting like the fact the resistance isn't that much better than the Empire. They have been warped by the brutality of fighting the Emperor and are ruthless to the extreme. Indeed, the only person which Corina can trust is one of her fellow Kindred. He has been hiding his gifts for years as a member of the Emperor's army but this fails when they start testing them for runes twice a year.
I actually enjoyed the interludes of the book a bit more than the main quest. Seeing the Emperor talk to "God", finding out how the resistance has become a bunch of terrorists, and other bits of lateral storytelling were all consistently entertaining. I would have appreciated finding out more about how the world worked before everything was changed forever.
In conclusion, Runeforged is a fun little book and one that I was entertained by. Its worldbuilding is fine with several interesting concepts as well as an excellent magic system. I don't think the plot was quite as popping as I wanted it to be, though, with a few things a bit too familiar. A few elements confused me like what the difference between a kingdom and a shard was. Still, it's a decent afternoon's read.