The relationship between Rail and Moa, though outwardly platonic, is sweet and completely believable. For so long, they have only had each other, and Rail’s instinct to protect the weaker, more vulnerable Moa is strong and unbending. The mystery of Orokos, though confusing at times, is solved at the end, leaving open the possibility of a sequel but not requiring it. Characters who are introduced seemingly at random (Vago, the golem, and Lelek, the girl in the paintings) are interwoven seamlessly throughout the story, slowly allowing the readers to draw conclusions and figure things out on their own. The depiction of the stratified society—the elimination of the poor, the weak, and the disabled in order to bring about a more ordered, civilized existence—allows readers to delve deep into political and philosophical discussions if they so desire, but those who just want a good read will not be disappointed either.
Recommended for grades 7-12.