Thoroughly enjoyed this one, after the slightly mechanical, no pun intended, eighths book. The cast of characters is enormous, but they each get enough careful attention to create distinct personalities and motivations, and Tchaikovsky has a knack of taking those characterizations and crafting arresting, dramatic, brutal moments out of them. The series probably most interesting aspect, the questions of magic and technology, also comes full circle and i'm dying to know how it's going to play out in the next book now. It's also astonishing how far all the characters have come, in a way that even series with much higher pretensions of scope usually fail to achieve. In short, read this, fantasy fans.