In a word: epic.If I didn’t know better I would say that this novel was written by an author who has spent many years honing his craft, but amazingly this is a debut effort and it’s pure literary enjoyment.Besides being treated to a wonderful story with elements of steampunk, science fiction and fantasy, there’s a strong-willed heroine named Yukiko who kicks ass and takes names and a very cool telepathic thunder tiger named Buuru. The world-building is tremendous in scope and the main characters are brilliantly depicted. I really enjoyed how Yukiko and Buuru got to know each other and how their friendship evolved over time.The most important detail you need to know about this book is that Jay Kristoff can flat out write. Here’s an example: “Absolute power over the state rests with a single man who rules by fiat, not merit, empowered by an elite that the common man can never join, nor understand. A regime of deception and murder, blood in the gutters….The system will not die willingly, it must be killed….better to die on your feet than live on your knees.” A small minority of people have rained on the parade and groused that the setting doesn’t follow traditional Japanese language and the beginning is an info dump. As far as the language goes, like the vast majority of people I wouldn’t have noticed the difference anyway. If this was a book taking place in modern-day Japan this is a legitimate complaint. But this is the future folks so who’s to say if a custom or a word is wrong? This falls under the heading of artistic license. Yes, the author does introduce numerous details of the culture but just like in any science fiction novel you don’t have to completely understand every detail. If you can get through those lengthy cinder blocks by George R.R. Martin this one is a breeze.I strongly recommend this to anyone who likes an intricate, unique, mind-expanding book.