This story of a girl in a floating city, similar to and yet distant from our own world, may have had some pacing problems for me at the end, but was an overall pretty enthralling tale with a captivating main character and a wonderful premise (and I agree with Sam that it totally reminded me of Bioshock Infinite in a lot of ways - a lot of good ways though).
Our main character Morgan has a predictable but by no means easy life. She goes to school, she talks with her betrothed, Basil; her lone good friend Pen; and Pen's betrothed, Thomas and then goes home to a difficult atmosphere where people are abusing themselves in a myriad of small ways and she just tries to keep balance and be there for them.
But things get a lot more difficult when a girl is murdered and suddenly everyone on the small floating city of Internment (Yeah, seriously. Creepy name there guys) is worried. The place is small. The killer could be anyone, right?
But Morgan's not all that worried about the murderer. She's got other things to worry about, like her policeman father being out all the time hunting the criminal, her brother being a growing stranger, a wounded survivor of getting too close to the edge and a mother who's only vaguely there thanks to self-medication. and I kind of love her for it. The murder and the reaction to it make her nervous, but she has a sort of compassion that makes her wonder if she and the victim could have been friends and wait to judge the accused killer, rather than assuming he must be guilty because she was told so.
Overall, I liked this - liked the characters, who were well-drawn and diverse and interesting; liked the setting, which was fanciful enough to be fascinating while still being similar enough to ours that I didn't need terms explained very often; even liked the overall mystery, which kept me guessing because I wasn't entirely sure which mystery was the right one.
The only problem I had was that the pacing seemed to go a bit wonky at the ending. For most of the book, it's this languidly paced exploration of this girl's life, and her choices (what choices are allowed to her) and her relationships. But then the King tries to have her killed, does manage to kill her parents, she goes into hiding with her brother and his wife, finds out about a plan to escape and a giant bird machine to do it in, leaves to go tell Pen and maybe kill the king, gets captured, escapes, gets back to the bird with Pen, and helps the group escape in it. All that seemed to pile in on itself really fast. I don't know what could have been cut out, but it was just jarring and felt awkward.
And then... then we get them tunneling through Internment and escaping and heading down to land on the ground and after the compressed action of the previous bit, this seemed really stretched out and slow. So as a result, I'm not sure what, exactly felt like the climax - or if anything did. Was it the escape from the prince and princess? Eh. Bursting free of Internment? I guess, but it didn't feel big enough to me. The thing that felt the most like a climax was basically the very end of the book, where they land and the people on the ground below approach aaaand... curtain!
None of this was enough to impact my enjoyment of this book too heavily. I found it wonderfully simple and serious in the first bit, and once I got into the pace of the action in the second bit I enjoyed that okay as well. I suspect I'll keep an eye out for book 2 in this series.