A heartbreaking but ultimately life-affirming dystopian fantasy novel with characters whose depth becomes more and more apparent as time goes on. The cause and full impact of the event that caused the cataclysms leading to this bleak future are never fully explained - which makes it intriguing to try to piece together. People who don't like modern fiction and don't enjoy this type of vagueness though should steer clear - this novel is about the very human people in the midst of catastrophe, not about how that catastrophe came to be. Though there are hints, clues, and hope by the end. A thoroughly engrossing read.