I was SO EXCITED when I opened this. A lesbian separatist cyberpunk matriarchy in an ice city? Yes please and lots of it. The setting is incredibly evocative: Williams draws together canals, grand old houses, ritual towers, a wonderfully rusty "haunt-tech" magic/technology paradigm and credible family dramas. And more and more wonderful things kept piling on... the problem was they didn't stop!
At the point in the book where I hoped a central plot would start to emerge, the characters kept getting thrown into more and more new situations. Every time they (and I!) stopped to think, a shop front would explode and they'd be on the move again. The quick cut is a technique as old as cyberpunk but here I felt it was used to create a false sense of movement when the characters weren't actually progressing through a defined dilemma.
Later in the book I felt like Liz Williams' inner editor stepped in and several of the plot threads just dropped away. It may be a symptom of being the first book in an intended trilogy but I felt that the minor threads never got closure or a promise of future development. However the main plotline benefits hugely and by the end of the book it felt like most of it had come together.
In a lesbian sense, practically every character is a woman and some of them ostensibly in relationships, but the book turns out curiously sexless. I wasn't sure when reading if that's because the action was so fast - but I don't think that should preclude some attachment between characters! - or because Williams chose for whatever reason to write it that way. I hope that as the characters develop into the rest of the trilogy that we'll see some more of the social fabric of her woman-only society in terms of relationships between women.
So: read for a beautifully baroque setting, lots of action and a blessed lack of dudes, for those of us which consider such a lack a blessing. ;) Don't try too hard to figure out what's going on in the middle bit with lots of explosions, but stay along for the ride, and you'll probably enjoy how it all comes out at the end. And I'll definitely be reading the next book in the series when it comes out!