I don't usually read much SF but was intruiged to buy this novel after seeing a billboard advert for it in a railway station of all places. The hype seduced me. 'Fiercely intelligent...' 'Needle-sharp...' 'Quite, quite brilliant...' Feeling not a little excited I bought the book. (The iconic lipstick-cum-catridge case sealed any last doubts on purchasing it.)
I didn't like it when the writer described the science in the book as 'pure fudge' in the Acknowledgements section at the beginning, seemed a bit of a disclaimer, but I started to read with high expectations intact.
The first two pages were quite deliberately shocking and then I was into the story. It is clever, disturbing, intruiging, challenging, funny, moving, and quite original. 'Extra spooky with sauce', as one of the chapter headings put it.
I think you will either love Tricia Sullivan's style or junk it. But I was reminded of the magic that can be displayed when a writer taps into something which is happening right now - mall culture, teenage agression, fashion, biotechnology, socio-political exploitations of many devious kinds, etc - and twists it into an intelligent, perceptive thriller.
For this is a thriller. Two story-lines building momentum.
I left the book feeling that - for once - I had not been cheated by any hype. That I had been enriched by the book.
I have said little about the actual content of the novel because I really think that readers should be able to experience the story 'blank', with out any 'spoilers'. An excellent SF novel.