Full disclosure, I also voted for Angry Robot to publish Carrie (you can read about my day at their HQ here), and she’s swung by The Bibliophibian on her blog tour for this book. I’ve owed this review for ages; I’m sorry!
I had really high hopes for this based on the first chapters I read way back, and as with most Angry Robot books, I found the ideas really fascinating. The whole set-up of the world, the mystery behind the way it’s got there (because it’s quickly obvious it’s a post-catastrophe version of our world), combined with the two main characters. They’re both women, and they’re both awesome in very different ways: Liesl Malone is a tough as nails cop, and Jane Lin is a laundress in a highly stratified society which doesn’t necessarily see the value of her quick wits and constantly underestimates her.
I think the set-up for this story is great, and the characters too — although I predicted the plot whenever it involved Roman Arnault, particularly! — although I found it a little weaker in the middle. It starts out strongly, but the mystery doesn’t really stand out, and details come out a bit too slowly. Liesl (in particular) is awesome, and the whole issue of the sheer volume of knowledge being kept from the populace gives it an interesting background, but some parts just didn’t feel as sharp as they could be.
I’m looking forward to reading Cities and Thrones, the sequel, which will hopefully expand on all the stuff I’m interested in. The positions the characters are left in at the end of the book intrigue me particularly; everything’s changing for them.