As someone who adores epic space opera tales written by female authors, I was excited for this book. I’d never read anything by Valente before, and this seemed like a great introduction to her work. It absolutely was a fantastic primer on her delightful and illustrative writing style, but this was not the intricate political tale I’d been expecting.
If you took out all the endless narrative describing events in the past, text bloated with luscious prose and evocative imagery, this story would have worked much better as a novella. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the characters, from Dess to the roadrunner to Omar to the cat (honestly, the cat was probably my favorite), and the detailed descriptions of so much world-building were a master-class in description. But like the Eurovision music contest this book draws its inspiration from, everything just verged on TOO MUCH.
This book is an enjoyable romp through a dazzling larger universe. But if it were a movie, it’d be all spectacle and not quite as much detailed plot as expected from the title. This does work as an introduction to Valente’s work, which I’m eager to read more of, but remember to treat the title as a clever work trick rather than as an advertisement for what you’ll find within.
Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.
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