Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee was a lot of fun, but at the same time frustrating. The writing, pacing, and characters are very well done, but the worldbuilding … it’s frustrating how much potential it has. With some work, this could have been a book opening up a great universe, but it felt like the author cut short all the worldbuilding work they should have done on their end, and instead substituted “what I say goes” rules for an inner logic in that world, making decisions and outcomes feel kind of random. I like being dropped in a weird and unfamiliar world, having to figure things out on my own – but I get grumpy if it turns out that there’s nothing to figure out, because the author makes up the rules as the action goes along.
It’s basically high fantasy in space.