If you're not squeamish about guy-on-guy romance and some slightly risque (not erotica style, but probably more like R than PG-13) "bedroom scenes," this is a great way to spend a day! The start is heart breaking -- seeing how bad poor Jodi had it forced my hand into buying the rest. Probably would have anyway, and I'm very glad I did.
This book deserves five stars for many reasons, but I'd give them just for the fact that the character, Kir, was just so enthralling and adorable. Finally, someone really nailed the masculine gay guy combined with the whole "broken savior" thing. Ann is the first author I've read who has dynamic, interesting, powerful gay characters instead of relegating them to stereotypes (the hair dresser, the florist, the besty of the female lead, etc.) or something equally fake and/or unsatisfying. I wanted to take Kir home with me and make him soup :) For some reason, even though I felt certain he should have a rustic Aussie accent, in my little pea brain, Kir had an American Deep South accent . . . go figure.
The narrative flowed quickly and fluidly, and the dialog seemed natural. I was also terribly impressed with the quality of the editing -- better than many paper books I've read in the past. If this was self-edited, I think I might be inclined to send a copy of my dissertation on a test run past Ms. Somerville when it's completed ;) If not, kudos to the editor.
Add to that the interesting questions that arise when even ones own thoughts are no longer sacred or certain and top it off with almost Guy Fawkes style uprising, and this story really just satisfies. I found myself utterly unable to put it down (until my eyes betrayed me and I sacked out with the laptop as a pillow).
A few things detracted from the sheer joy of this overall excellent book. First, the telepathic communication could really have benefited from some sort of offset or typographical treatment -- though that could be an artifact of my reader for all I know. I found myself relying on context to know whether I was reading mental dialog or narrative. It was easy enough to figure out in nearly all cases, but on several occasions, it broke the continuity just a bit. I also longed for a bit more closure at the end before the last chapter. It was good, but if there were an apocryphal offering of 3 or 4 chapters about that period, I would be more than tempted to drop a few bucks on it.
The last little detractor is somewhat of a pet-peeve of mine that's rather prevalent in SF/F writing, and most normal readers probably won't mind it at all. Units of measure. Yea, it's great to do some world building, but I've got some issues when units of time, space, and mass get substituted. Firstly, I've already suspended my disbelief to allow this strange world to miraculously have co-discovered the English language -- why couldn't I as easily do the same with spontaneous discovery of a meter, ounce, cubic centimeter, second, or any other familiar unit? Baring that, a conversion chart or at least some kind of context(Five myclits, barely enough to fill a child's medicine dropper, or Five myclits, enough to fill a small swimming pool; obviously a bit theatrical an example, but nonetheless. . .) would be nice to help frame my mental image. All in all, I managed on context -- just as I have in so many other SF/F books in the past with vague calendars or units of measure. Since this is part of a larger collection, maybe I just need to read more to properly understand the units. . .
Overall, those were only minor detractors from what was otherwise a really enjoyable romp. If you find yourself with a spare evening and a few bucks, don't have a problem with gay romance and the occasionally dark and grim segment, and aren't reading on a work computer/phone/device (language and sexual content probably makes this a bit NSFW, imo), you should definitely check out Ann Somerville's Hidden Faults. You'll be glad you did. I know I am. Definitely looking forward to reading more from her in the future.
(reviewed the day of purchase)