Man, I'm pissed. Couple of years ago, I also envisioned a book where children are essentially genderless until they chose at a certain age, and I was like "that'd be cool! So cool! I'm a genius." I'm not super pissed particularly because I feel robbed (well.) but because it was done super well in this book and probably better than I ever could've. So... goddamnit.
I haven't had a whole lot of interaction with silkpunk, being that a lot of it tends to be written by people who have a fascination with "Asian culture" but not a whole lot of insight into it. [b:The Grace of Kings|18952341|The Grace of Kings (The Dandelion Dynasty, #1)|Ken Liu|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1403024981s/18952341.jpg|26965646] wasn't... horrible, but I didn't hugely enjoy it, and its gender politics was so irritating that I wasn't tempted to look twice as its sequel until someone told me it got better.
But I never had to worry about this book, which is simply lovely. I love its fantasy, which, interestingly enough, reminded me a lot of Pierce's Circle of Magic series, though that isn't to detract from its own originality. I love the politics in it, the machinations, and I kind of like that everyone hates their mother, who is pretty heartless. Always nice to read books that don't treat blood relatives as obligatory devotion! I read most of this in a day and I never felt like it went too quickly or it dragged. It packed a perfect punch, told a well paced story.
Nitpickiness? Not really a complaint - I was kind of hoping Akeha would be nonbinary, but the whole thing regarding gender is done so well I didn't end the book with it hanging over my head or anything. Again, it's not even a complaint, it was just something I was hoping would happen!
Overall a book I appreciate and adore in a multitude of ways, and hoping it comes up in awards next year because I looooved it.