Unexpectedly absorbing, interesting take on beauty and female oppression; I really liked the beginning of the love story (I read it as more of a Gothic melodrama than the author may have meant; why is it always the guy she can't understand who attracts the empathic/telepathic heroine?), but felt it was resolved a little too easily by the end. I have to admit I was much less interested in the progress of the war than in difficulties of a beautiful (alluring) girl navigating a more-or-less stable society.
But a very thoughtful take, much less heteronormative than I thought at first, although a lot of the queerness read to me as a well-intentioned afterthought rather than something that had been as thought out as the other aspects of Fire's life. I do tremendously like the heroine had an active sex life with people she cared for but wasn't "in love" with and that she wasn't punished for it, and I do like how ties of family are equally strong whether of adoption or blood kinship. There's a kind of adultness to a lot of the relationships that I'm not used to seeing in YA or romantic fiction -- not explicitness, but a pragmatism and a realistic spectrum of emotional and social consequences to relationships rather than an adherance to the usual fantasies.