The book was just a teensy bit slow to start. Many characters, destined to meet later on, were introduced, but you also got to know them pretty well and, most importantly, care about them. Some of the premises, like the abilities of the core personalities, didn't seem quite plausible, but it didn't detract too much from the story, at least for me.
Many interesting viewpoints concerning the concept of diversity and religious practices were explored through the characters: How far should we go in respecting another's diversity? At what point should someone step in, if indeed they should step in at all, to put a stop to what others might see as barbaric practices? Are we really free or just products of our individual cultures and upbringing? Are the choices we make really our own? Do our supposedly objective views and moral codes change when events wear a more personal face?
All in all, most of the characters were pretty likable, though Danivon was a little too stiff and seemingly perfect for my liking. His olfactory abilities were rather interesting though. The different cultures visited in the book were also quite, uh, interesting--actually they were a bit frightening. A few events towards the end of the book even managed to surprise me, but just a bit. :-)
I would definitely recommend this book as a good read. It gave me food for thought, made me rethink some of my own ideals. Really, once the characters were introduced, and the action picked up, I couldn't put it down. =RTK=