Once again, this review is going to suffer some because of how long ago I read this book. I'll be caught up to myself soon enough.
Elizabeth Hand is generally hit or miss for me, but on this one it was pretty much all hit. I'll be honest, most of the action revolved around violent death and wrongful sex, but this still managed to be a beautiful story. Artsy fartsy for sure, but splashy enough to pull me through it at a run.
Sex, knowledge, skill, death - each of these being traded back and forth by the survivors of our civilization reborn in darker shades. I'm kind of a sucker for any kind of sacred prostitutes in a narrative. All religions have to deal with sex somehow - to pretend that huge driving force can be overcome with prayer always strikes me as knowingly dishonest. Of course, children raised from birth to be the playthings of the powerful is as evil as it gets, and I admire Hand for making them more than victims and revenge fodder.
I would have more to say about this, but I loaned my copy out twice now and haven't got it back yet from the second time. That right there should tell you something.