I picked up the last book in this trilogy to read, and in going back to my notes to recall the previous one (I remember when I had the time to re-read all prior books in a series before a new one. Sigh.), I found that there’s an odd gap in my reviews in the fall of 2018. However, I definitely read this book, so this is a sadly brief, reconstructed review based on memory and a very few notes (which tell me the date I read it).
I’d really been taken by the first book in this series, Smiler’s Fair, which I thought was innovative and interesting. I recall that this second book was something of a disappointment – still innovative, but gradually falling apart as it went on. Perhaps, in fact, too many innovations, without enough time spent worldbuilding, or tying all the pieces and characters together.
There’s the occasional continuity flaw, and too many reinventions, too many ‘cultural cognates’. Some of the personal reveals struck me as forced and weak. A key decision toward the end of the book is not very well founded, and I simply didn’t find it credible.
All in all, a good book, but a letdown after the strength of its predecessor.