Neat enough premise: NLP is magic, special words can persuade and coerce humans into any action. With a few well-chosen questions you can figure out any person’s category (out of <1000), and then apply magic words that bypass consciousness and allow for deep manipulation and commands. These words are taught in a school that is – surprise – not exactly lawful-good.
The characters were flat and everything was focused on being very grim (think The Magicians vibes, or maybe Mount Char). Dutifully, it points out how internet surveys and user profiling is already similar to what the in-book magic allows people to do, but it doesn’t really go anywhere from there. It’s not exactly bad, but it’s not exactly good either. You can do so much with language as virus/command structure, and this book … didn’t.