A slow experience. I loved the concept of the oncoming ice age forcing a political revolution. Unfortunately, the book starts with the usual disjointed narrative, hopping from person, place and time, which drives me up the wall. My most frequent review complaint: why must everyone write the deconstructionist novel? I'm convinced that it's a writing shortcut--it's so much easier to keep doing brief sketches from each viewpoint rather than strive for a cohesive whole. And it's a lazy-ass way to develop suspense when the characters are acting against each other. However, we mostly stick with four or five or six main characters: Randur, the dandy and dancer; Tuya the artist; Investigator Rumex Jeryd, a runnel; Brynd the captain of the elite Night Guard; the cultist Duncan; the high Councilor Urtica; the princesses Rika and Eir... okay, now that I think about it, we get to see inside everyone's head. Too bad. It's a whole mish-mash of people, both protagonist and antagonist, and unfortunately, a lot of them sound like the neighbor down the street pretending to be different people at the office when he's telling a story. I enjoyed following some of the storylines, but think the details in each could have been bulked and individualized by not switching narratives so often. Doing so created a sort of homogeneousness of narrative voice and vocabulary. There were some creative moments--a lot of the underlying ideas were interesting, even if they lacked structure to make a cohesive whole. The setting and the concept of the ice age is fascinating. The races are kind of interesting to me. The cultist concept and Duncan's preoccupation with death is an interesting set-up. I do have to note that this book involved some of the most awkward sex scenes that I've read in a long time (edited snarky comment here). I'd rather Newton just left it out, as it gave very little insight into the character(s) or setting--or even vicarious enjoyment. I found the crab people an odd plot development. Did the story really need another race, and one on the attack, to propel it forward? It added confusion to an already disjointed plot. Okay, I get maybe it's the falling of the empire while petty maneuvers wear it away from within, but this isn't well done at all. Nonetheless, something about the coming ice age is fascinating to me--could be my preoccupation with post-apocalypse novels, so I'll likely get the next book from the library to see how it develops. Or maybe I'm just OCD and I want to see what happens because I can't quite guess how this mess well end up. Well, actually, I can. Eir will be crowned after a long and bloody revolution that pits soldiers/commoners/runnels against the old nobility. Some cultist device will be used. A couple characters will be killed.