Three and a half stars, read in August 2016.
The cover on the left is the one I read, but I think if you look for it now, the cover on the right is the one you’ll find. I actually really like them both.
This was very enjoyable with mostly-small problems here and there. I liked the world-building and character diversity, and it’s a great concept to start out with. You can tell Yatsuhashi made a solid attempt at character development, although I don’t feel like he was entirely successful with that, particularly the female characters [mild spoiler alert] (most of whom are motivated by a raging “primal need” to have a baby . . . Because of course they are. It’s not that women can’t be motivated by that sometimes, but wouldn’t it be nice if it didn’t feel like people just can’t conceive of any other possible motivation for a woman’s behavior and choices?)[/spoiler].
The main distraction for me was the consistent, almost total lack of the past perfect tense—which is really necessary in a book that moves back and forth between past and present—and some other grammatical things that an editor should have been able to help with. When a character is thinking something in italics, for example, the voice is supposed to switch to present tense; in this book, those italicized thoughts remain in the narrative past tense (ex. This wasn’t going to be easy, she thought). There are a lot of unclear pronouns, too, which, combined with the lack of past perfect tense, makes for some confusing scenes.
But overall, this is definitely a fun read, and I hope it becomes more widely available now that Yatsuhashi’s found another publisher for it.