Let’s start with what’s good about this book: the intricately detailed world-building, and the vivid descriptions that bring this world to life. At times, you can almost feel the hot desert winds bringing sand into the cities, or the gloomy cool of the underground water channels, one of which the characters use to travel between worlds. We’re introduced to a complicated fantasy society, with a great number of cities within its boundaries, and pre-existing tensions and suspicions that add a lot of interest to Elabel’s chapters. All of this, I really enjoyed.
On the other hand, the pacing of the book is very slow, the story is a bit confusing (or maybe it’s more that most plot threads never got resolved – I guess the author intends to address them in future instalments of this series), and Elabel was the only character who really grabbed me. Realistically I wish I could rate this 2.5, but I don’t think the setting alone warrants 3 stars. So this is a bit of a guilty 2 from me.