I have long been a die hard fan of intense science fiction. The one star I'll give Hand for this book is for her excellent use of deep imagery in the work to invoke almost physical responses from the reader.
However, the rest of what makes a story into a novel is missing. The characters are lackluster (at best), having no real passion or direction, and gaining none as the story progresses. For a while I was truly enthralled by the read, one page pulling me into the next until I had burned through the first three hundred pages in as many minutes.
And then it died...not in a blast, or a convoluted plot twist, or even in any way that could be defined as heroic, romantic, philosophical, or otherwise. It faded as if it had never been. The story just seems to stop (like a car stalling silently on a fast highway) the story coasts in neutral for about 150 pages, flares like the engine sputtering to life for a heartbeat, (but not really) and then sliding onto the shoulder, making you wonder why you got in the car at all!
Even if you like the occasional anticlimactic plot twist, this takes the concept a step further, where the only characters who receive any sort of finality die in ignoble, boring ways. I am also a male reader, but unlike one of my fellow reviewers, I don't need a huge hollywood style ending.
I would, however, like an ACTUAL ending.