Cat Valente's prose is never anything less than luxurious
. Reading any of her novels is probably as close as you'd get to the mental and emotional equivalent of doing something utterly decadent like bathing in a large swimming pool filled with warm chocolate - but not just any old chocolate, ohoh, no no no - I'm talking about that really rich, sickly Belgian chocolate here. Yes.
And running with this (admittedly rather silly now I've actually stopped to think about it) analogy - it's sticky: it sticks to you and stays with you long after you close the book for a while and go back to whatever less-luxurious thing you were supposed to be doing. This is prose that sticks in your mind and goes round and around and around and then seeps into your heart and your gut and everywhere else that it can, because it's beautiful and it means something
and you'll want to savour it and save it and remember bits of it here and there when you're stuck doing mundane things like lion taming and fixing the Hubble Space Telescope.
"So why only the four stars?", I hear you ask. Well, despite the fact that her mastery of prose is wonderful, I did feel that, compared to the first book in this series, the story just wasn't quite as strong, sadly.
Now please, do excuse me - I need to go and wash off my nose-plug and goggles.