My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’m afraid this book didn’t quite rapture me the way previous stories by the same author did. The premise is wonderful, the historical and cultural setting is spot-on, the elements are all there, but in the end they don’t quite seem to gel the right way and they often leave me wanting. Oddly enough, at times the story seems to run too fast with its gaps of months and years, at times it seems to take forever for anything to happen. The main character, Marya, is also a cypher to me, and more often than not I cannot understand her motivations or her reasoning.
Four stars because it still remains a wonderful tale written in astounding prose, and a ‘bad’ Valente is still miles above many other books.
(March 2013: I’m reuploading this, as this review seems to have been deleted. Maybe it was a victim of the great Amazon purge? Anyway, I should re-read this and see if my opinion has changed.)