Top positive review
Shorter Entry in Snow Queen Cycle
on December 10, 2016
Oh, the mass paperback cover. If you're buying the mass paperback please, ignore the 1980s clothing (the guy is cute, though).
The story inside is not the same huge, sprawling space opera as The Snow Queen and The Summer Queen. If you're a completist like I am, though, you're going to want to get all the missing little holes filled in that weren't covered in The Summer Queen. This one is all in first person from Gundalinu's POV as he loses his mind getting closer to a chaotic lake where time flows differently, and there's a town that comes into and out of reality. The stated goal is to save his thieving, wastrel brothers; the covert goal is to work through the seismic personal revelations he's gone through since he left Tiamat and Moon.
As others have said, there's a "Heart of Darkness" vibe going on in this installment in the The Snow Queen cycle. It expands the universe more. You visit another planet in the Hegemony and see how it's ruled by a huge corporation, with all the red tape that implies. If you like Gundalinu's character from either of the other two books, you will definitely like this one. If you're not a fan of his maybe not so much.
If you're not a fan of this character, you can safely skip this installment BUT it does shed more light on a few plot points in The Summer Queen which are by comparison skimmed over in that book. As many other reviewers have said, this book feels like Vinge excised this from a rough draft of The Summer Queen and expanded it. I liked reading it because it gave me his POV as well as Moon's POV from her book of some of the same events.
Just waiting for the day when the publisher moves it into eBook format (psst, publisher...)