First things first, this is isn't the average book, there is a tang (maybe more) of weirdness to it. The novel is clearly space opera, but also not quite.
It starts with a prison, in fact, the Prison. A place with no clear boundaries because it can grow. It is also an unsual place because its directors make the prisioners play dangerous games and die, then its revival for them and repeat. That until the prisioners are redeemed of their criminal acts. It is from there one of our protagonist comes, Jean le Flaumber, a former thief who remembers nothing from his life.
He is rescued by Mieli and her ship, because of that he is in debt to her. The payback of the debt is what makes the story of "The Quantum Thief" and possibly of the second book, "The Fractal Prince".
Jean, Mieli and another surprise character meet in Oubliette, a peculiar city in a inhospitable planet, and problem starts brewing. It involves virtual inteligent beings, who could have come from real people or not, and even more odd things.
The novel also has a few elements of hard sf, a few quantum things, nanotechnology, among others, but nothing too detailed and hard to follow or unenjoyable, far from it, in fact.
It is original but within everyone comprehension. Definitely worth reading and waiting for a sequel.
Till next time,