The story takes place in Talis, a city ruled by the Duke and Duchess, which is the focus of fairy unrest. It takes a while to learn all the characters and what they are or are not. The plotting is deliciously complicated and no one is sure who is on what side. This book is not your normal fantasy with fairies and humans, there are real political undertones. Beyond that it has a different feel to most books brought out these days in that there is no obvious good or bad. Each faction has their grievances and their flaws. The fascination is not in cheering for the ‘good guys’ but in admiring the depth of the interaction and how the people can be simultaneously heroes and villains.
If you are going to take up just one fantasy epic this year, this book is a very good place to start. I highly recommend it to epic fantasy readers, people who enjoy the interplay of plots and power in a city which is both alive and balanced on a knife edge.