This is a strange little book. Very atmospheric, with a world that feels immersive and realistic, spot-on about many aspects of our lives today. I liked the Indian setting, which is still a rarity in SFF, and was intrigued by the role of the main character in the story—certainly an unconventional-feeling protagonist, kind of like an NPC in one of the main sidequests of a cyberpunk RPG.
Those are the good parts. The actual book? It’s such a weird way to tell a story. Half the type I was annoyed because it was too explainy, going into extreme details about one thing and then delving into some other thing the next. Most of the time I was completely lost! Who is this character now and why am I supposed to care about them? Why are we suddenly reading about x when I was so invested in y? It made the book challenging, but not in a fun and thought-provoking way, just in a frustrating way.
The other thing that annoyed me was how this barely used its SFF setting. Sure, we get some cool stuff about climate change, wealth disparity, … the usual suspects in hot SFF works. But besides the confusing narrative, we actually get a fairly mundane story most of the time—sex scandals, people betraying each other, and lots of people just being shitty humans to each other.
All-over-the-place. Would’ve been a DNF if this wasn’t an ARC. I would like to thank NetGalley regardless for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.