Got to about 41%, and am now shelving this away for a later time.
I just didn’t enjoy the story or characters. There were too many alliances and too many names, but not enough motivation or reason to care. Also, plot-wise, it kind of flowed from event to event with no clear scenes and way (way, way) too much exposition. I guess that’s a style, but it’s not for me.
That’s not to say that it all just went over my head (though much of it did). There are times I like to be confused when I’m reading. It’s half the fun of being a fan of genre fiction, and why I love A Song of Ice and Fire and the Malazan Book of the Fallen so much.
Jacqueline Carey has put a lot of time into building a vast world, but there was too much telling instead of showing and the execution of the story suffered as a result.
Again, this is not an amateurish work; the writing and language were beautiful. A flowing, lyrical prose reminiscent of Patrick Rothfuss, Neil Gaiman, or Guy Gavriel Kay.
Still, three stars for effort, which is still saying a lot for a book I didn’t finish.
(A quick note about the erotic parts of the book: they’re minimal. So don’t skip it just for that reason (unless you’re a huge prude or something.))