Absolutely loved this book and couldn't put it down. This is a good book. This is a really
good book. I can list so many things I love about it, so it might be practical first to start with what I didn't love.
First is the constant use of the word "personage." It's awkward and throws me out of the story every time, but it's minor enough an infraction to overlook. It's just weird to me!
The second is Elliott's tendency to overuse adjectives and clauses that go on and on. It's a little difficult to follow sometimes, but I sort of write that way myself. I understand now that it might not be the best way to keep people reading.
And that's it. That is honestly it. Everything else in this book hit all the right notes. I can't possibly express how much I loved that the protagonists were people of color. There really need to be more books out there that explore other cultures the way this one does.
Catherine is simply amazing to me. I think more protagonists need to be like her -- she just never gives up. She keeps going, and she is fiercely protective of the people she loves. And I love her relationship with Bee -- in most books I've read, female friendship usually gives way for romantic relationships, but the bond between her and her cousin is the strongest and purest part of this story. It's really kind of beautiful. I love them both equally -- I came in expecting to love Cat, but loving the brave and sassy Bee was an excellent plus. They're absolute partners in crime.
Let's not forget Andevai. I might run the risk of sounding like a silly schoolgirl if I go on about him at length. Cat's relationship with him is prickly and exciting and absolutely touching. I loved seeing him grudgingly give way to his feelings, surprised and confounded at every turn by his growing respect and admiration for her. He is so whipped, and neither of them realize it. And hey, heroes who are completely vain about their appearance are kind of my weakness.
And Rory is the absolute best.
Lastly, the world-building. Kate Elliott is just so good at it, though occasionally one gets confronted by a barrage of too much information. This world just feels like a living, breathing organism to me. We're faced with so many different places and societies that it really does seem like this would have been our world, had it unfolded in a slightly different set of circumstances. The blend of cultures and mythologies is particularly fascinating to me. I'm excited to find out more about the spirit world in the next book.
I love that the story constantly discusses the conflict of freedom and choice and order, and how this reflects in the protagonists as well as the society they live in.
Read this book. There is steampunk, and fierce heroines of color, and lovesick heroes who absolutely cannot stand being lovesick, and buttloads of adventure and friendship. And also, intelligent dinosaurs!