As much as I wanted to, I didn't find this book very compelling. I certainly like the notion of a fantasy-ish story that takes place somewhere other than London or NYC, but that wasn't really enough for me. The plot gets bogged down in endless explanations -- basically with every introduction of a new tool, location, creature, character, etc, instead of showing us the thing, the author just tells about the thing. The dialogue drags and is repetitive. The concept of the plot has a lot of potential, but in execution it is extremely predictable, especially for a book that purports to be a mystery. The book is vaguely anti-colonial, and the gender politics are certainly interesting, but at the same time it's really falls into traditional genre tropes and in a lot of ways it buys into the accepted structure of western/colonial politics. I almost put it down several times.