Bug-punk. Not something I've done before.
On the plus side, I love the fact that Hurley doesn't feel the need to explain anything
to you. The reader gets dropped in at the deep end, and it's sink or swim.
On the negative side, I'm disappointed that there's no attempt to explain how "magic" works (as far as I can tell, not really magic, just a judicious application of Clarke's Law
). It certainly makes it easier on an author...
The story's set on a world far away in space and time, in warring theocracies distinctly reminiscent of Iran/Iraq on Earth. The countries of Nasheen and Chenja both subscribe to a clearly Islam-derived religion - though I have no doubt they'd be considered heretics by any Muslims alive today. Following the dictates of their religion, though, they once permitted other settlers to join them on their planer, so long as they were "People of the book", and there are other recognizable religions on the planet (except Baha'i, who were exterminated - I can see their unificationist religion would threaten everyone there).
Introduce to Nasheen/Chenja's centuries-long war a few new aliens — recognizable as Christians with their own holy war — and it's obvious that the end-times may be at hand. One apostate assassin is left to solve the problem.
So far, it's all good. Hurley is probably risking a fatwa, but I love the milieu. It's just so darn hard to feel anything for the protagonist, who basically muddles all through the story and gets lucky at the end.