This story is an example of true alternate history done right. It’s a combination of events and conceits that shouldn’t work together, but absolutely do because of the talent of the author. It’s also a great example of how non-chronological storytelling is occasionally essential.
I could have done with a bit less of the elephant mythology that slowed the drama of the other two stories down, but at the same time, you can’t set up a second sentient species as integral to the narrative and then leave our their very non-human perspective. I appreciate it more after the fact than while I was immersed in the story itself.
I’ve seen this book highly recommended ever since it came out, but I’m often slow to jump on the bandwagon of “popular” speculative fiction. However, consider me a solid supporter of this tale and if you’ve been eyeing it, it’s well worth the time.