I don't think I can fully review this book without spoiling it, and that is just something I do not want to do. I went into this book knowing nothing about it other than it won the Hugo, was nominated for numerous other awards (Nebula, Locus, Kitschies, Goodreads), and would probably be well written as I've read another of Jemisin's books (Killing Moon) and found the writing lovely. I didn't know what it was about, or even really whether it was sci-fi or fantasy. And I'm so glad I went in blind. Every layer that peeled back felt like a revelation.
Here is what I feel like I *can* say without spoiling anything. Jemisin's prose is wonderful. The book is long, but it doesn't drag. In fact, it felt like a quick read despite the length and density. The way the story unfolds, granting you new knowledge slowly one piece at a time, kept me engaged throughout and prevented any sort of info dump exhaustion. The world building is interesting, rich, well thought out, and unique. I've never read about a world quite like the one she has built here, and she has done such a good job with the details that it felt fully realized and real. The characters were multi-faceted and complex. I cared about them, and I hurt when they hurt. I also appreciated the diversity of the cast, and the portrayal of different relationships you don't often get to see in fiction.
If I elaborate more I feel like I'd be doing you a disservice. What you really need to know is this is a wonderful book, well worth the buzz and praise. I can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy and see what more Jemisin has in store for her readers.