This book really drew me in, and I found myself staying up until 1:30 a.m. on several occasions because I just couldn’t put it down. Ms. Bush has done an excellent job building a believable world, where the steampunk elements fit seamlessly into the narrative. The back stories for the Republic and Empire, as well as for the characters themselves, lend an air of realism to the story. This book was a really fun adventure from start to finish, and Ms. Bush let us see Chenda’s development from a naive, sheltered girl to a strong, confident woman. I’ve already bought The Gospel According to Verdu and look forward to reading it.