Hurley is an amazingly inventive author; there’s no doubt about that. Each of the worlds she creates is full of fascinating detail: in this book, it’s the living worlds and all their layers, the different environments that Zan travels through in the course of the book, the living or semi-living technology they use. The details are, well, visceral — which is a bad match for the squeamish. Surprise! That includes me. The sensory aspects of this book just had me constantly wincing, not wanting to even try imagining them.
It doesn’t help for me that the characters are not entirely likeable, and their endgame is necessarily a secret from Zan (which leaves the reader figuring things out at the same pace). Terrible actions for a goal I can support, I can get past — when characters just do terrible things and interact with terrible people and I’m not sure if the goal is worth it, even to them… Well, it’s difficult for me.
I think Hurley is a great writer with a lot of intriguing ideas, but I prefer her non-fiction essays and commentaries. It’s not her, it’s me.