How do I even attempt to describe this book? It’s big, and full of digressions – ninjas, mimes, some sci-fi elements that never quite take over the story, leaving it supremely about character, place, and the way the world works. It was infuriating at times, and I almost quit once or twice, but it was worth it in the end. However, I wouldn’t recommend it lightly. If you want a big, all-encompassing book that is hugely imaginative and bizarre, PICK IT UP. If you want an orderly, sensitive story, stay the hell away. This is not that kind of novel. If you like to think about history and war and politics with a healthy dose of absurdity, give it a go. It was a bit like Catch-22, only longer and with more digressions, and that sci-fi bit.
There’s a plot twist. I read all these reviews that mentioned the plot twist, and Nancy Pearl told us there’s a plot twist, so if you like to try to guess those kinds of things, have at it and good luck. I was sort of onto it by the time things were revealed – I had a close guess, without all the nuances figured out. But I would NEVER have seen it coming if that plot twist hadn’t been hammered into me. But that didn’t in any way detract from my enjoyment of the story, and it took me a long time to even begin to guess.