Tzenni Boccamera goes looking for her lost sister in an enemy Spire (town, duchy, deconstructed spaceship). Tzenni is an engineer, and people distress her. (All three of the Boccamera sisters are a little cold, a little off, a little calculating in their interactions with other people, but each in completely different ways. They're not mean and they don't do it with ill intent, it's just that other people are something they have to figure out.) There's a lot of science and science-that-looks-like-magic but which gets more-or-less explained eventually. World-building by immersion and inclueing. Cool gender stuff, including major intersex characters.
The world-building -- crowded, interesting, complex -- and the characters and narration -- clever, with unexpected warmth -- remind me of [b:City of Diamond|1151841|City of Diamond|Jane Emerson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1181433516s/1151841.jpg|1139325]. The beginning probably could have used some revision, just because it's a bit too much information coming in from everywhere at once, and there's at least one line (fourth-wall-breaking [b:The Tough Guide to Fantasyland|47510|The Tough Guide to Fantasyland|Diana Wynne Jones|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348653215s/47510.jpg|1044747] injoke) I really wish the author had cut -- but I wonder if the author just went straight to epublishing, I can't imagine some print publisher not snapping this right up.
Note that this is really part one of a book -- the sequel is more of a second half. There's also a game-changing revelation/cliffhanger at the end of the second book, which made me expect a sequel, except from her blog she seems to be working on two books neither of which is that sequel.