This book did so many things so well. It perfectly evoked that life consuming intensity and abandon of a first young romance, as well as the tension and pain of love amidst cultural and familial adversity. As a result this was a story that warmed my heart and broke it in equal measure.
The story alternates back and forth between the week Aqib and Lucrio fall in love, and the time which comes afterward. The world is lushly detailed and interesting, and I'm looking forward to revisiting it in The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps. (I did not feel like I was missing anything by having read this book first, though I could tell there was some nuance I might have understood or appreciated more had I visited this world before.) I really appreciated how cohesive and real the cultures Wilson created felt - this world felt lived in and well realized.
I cared about the characters and their relationships deeply, and my one complaint was that I was far more invested in the love story being told when Aqib and Lucrio met than the story of what came later. This was a couple that I found myself cheering for, and I loved both of them, flaws and all. This is a story of both the paths we take and the ones we leave behind, without being overly sentimental. Insightful, beautiful, and at times melancholy, this is a story that will stay with me for a long time.