Perhaps more than anything else, I was impressed by the moral ambiguity of the book. And I'm not talking about cheap moral ambiguity, where characters disagree. Or there's some questions along the lines of "was that the right thing to do?" None of that weak tea here. This book was full of difficult situations and choices, and I can't think of another book I've read where so many people had radically different opinions about what the best course of action was. They disagreed, each took their own path, and and at the end of things, I still don't know who was right. What's more, the author pulled that off in such a way that it didn't feel fruitless and frustrating to me as a reader.
My hat's off Mievile there, that's a *very* difficult balancing act. My only irritation was that I picked this book up without doing my usual research though. It's only now that I came to enter it into goodreads that I discover what I've fucked up and read the third book of the series. It speaks well of the book that that didn't keep me from enjoying the story or getting into the world. (Though it does explain the steeper-than-average learning curve at the beginning of the story.)
Review by: Patrick Rothfuss