Mr. Shetterly lists his influences on an acknowledgments page before he starts the book, and you can definitely see the influences come to life in the pages. There are two or three scenes, for instance, that will remind you quite a bit of The Princess Bride if you've ever read it, or even ever watched the movie adaption. Luckily Mr. Shettlery's story is imaginative enough that this actually just makes the fantasy genre seem more connected rather than like reading an unoriginal piece of regurgitation. He definitely uses themes from other books in his own ways, rather than purely lifting scenes.
This book definitely has some time and thought put into its religion, which most of the story revolves around. Now I can't say I want to believe this myself, and sometimes there feels to be some hostility towards other religions merely by the presentation, but this is definitely an interesting work in regard to its people's beliefs. Let me recap it for you. There is one God, who spread herself out to give life to a variety of minor gods, who act as patrons to different species of mortals, whom the God also granted life: a wolf god, a dragon god, etc. It is said that this one God will one day wake from her sleep, consume all of the minor gods as well as all the life she created in mortals, and choose to either rebirth it all or kill it all. The motive is basically to see how well she did in creating life. Furthermore, there is something of a love story between-oh, I can't say anything without spoiling. (: However, the cat lord has gone missing and this disrupts her plans somewhat. This is definitely something you don't see in other fantasy works. So while I'll never take it seriously as a religion, I definitely had fun reading about the God and her subjects.
Even though the religion is the main focus of the book (which doesn't seem crediting enough, I know, but trust me: the book isn't told through a series of lectures or morality [believe me on that]; but otherwise through the characters' motives revolving around religious points, the characters expressing the qualities of their God, etc.), I generally enjoyed most of the characters as well. Some have fairly stereotypical qualities, which I'm pretty sure was intentional, and they definitely make some choices I disagree with, but they are fairly well-written.
The climax happens very quickly and isn't very exciting. It was well played out and unique, but happened so quickly with very little actual action that it seemed to be over before it started.
Well, I certainly enjoyed this book though not enough to call it a favorite.