This book seemed fairly promising, but unfortunately, it failed to deliver on most of the promises. I loved the basic premise and the idea behind the book, but that's pretty much it.
The book started off incredibly slow. The first 80 or so pages are mainly background information, and could have easily been worked in elsewhere in the novel.
Sheri S. Tepper went into incredible detail on things that weren't very important to the story, but left it mainly to the reader's imagination on the bigger elements. Such as Orphan's guardian angel. You can surmise fairly early on what it is, but you don't actually find out what it looks like until at least midway through the book.
The whole book is done in past tense, however, for whatever reason, Sheri S. Tepper decided to switch to present tense for the last chapter. This made absolutely no sense to me. It would have worked had she started off the novel in present tense, then went through the middle of the book like a flashback, finally switching back to present tense at the end. Since this didn't happen, the present tense at the end of the novel had a really jarring effect on me.
I could go on about the other problems I had while reading this book, but suffice it to say, it's pretty bad when you keep reading a novel in the hopes that it gets better to only be disappointed at the end that it didn't. My only real regret is that I purchased this novel new at bookstore. Had I bought it used, it wouldn't seem like such a waste of money.
All in all, the book had the potential to be an awesome mix of sci-fi and fantasy. It's just sad that it didn't happen that way.