This is a slightly more slowly paced follow-up to the earlier Zones of Thought books focusing as it does on the characters that were stranded on the world of the Tines at the end of the previous book. The plot is somewhat meandering more filled with the twist and turns political intrigue and character conflicts that action. It covers some years and jumps forward in time in uneven intervals sometimes leaving you wondering how things resolved themselves between chapters.
Filled with some interesting characters and lovely ideas throughout such as the The Tines themselves; dog like aliens who are intelligent only when thinking collectively as a pack. The aliens are well thought out and their characters are woven with skill throughout the narrative. The civilisation is in the process of being bootstrapped from the dark ages to the industrial revolution and this lends a slight steampunk flavour to the imagery at times.
I wasn't overly taken with the narration of this book, it was a little slow for my tastes and the characterisation of Ravna meant she sounded a bit like a depressed teenager at times which I found could be grating.
Overall I would recommend this book despite its faults, but only if you haven't already read the earlier Zones of Thoughts go check those out first. The ending of this novel does suggest further sequels will be forth coming so it would be great time to catch up.
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