I adored how wide the world felt and how much was hinted at by the various, subtly interacting magic systems at play. I feel like there are so many nooks and crannies to be explored around the main storyline of this book that it feels like a nearly inexhaustible mine. More, please!
The narrative structure jumps from the present to the past, each giving context to the other and its people -- literally showing you why the characters act the way they do, showing how the current situation came to be, giving you a real sense of time and consequence. I loved it.
And, as I've come to expect from Martha Wells, her depictions of trauma responses feel on-point and real. How everyone reacts to their own ghastly experiences and how it drives them are on full display and are very sympathetic.
So: great world-building. Fun characters and relationships. A complex, political story with very "human" characters. It drops you in to a rushing river and expects you to swim, which I love.
That said, I feel like the characters besides Kai, the main POV, are a little flat. There's a chance that they feel that way because of how much Kai is struggling with their own inner demons (heh heh); maybe Kai's inward focus makes them somewhat blind to others' personalities and the narrative reflects that?