Imaginative, with a clever thematic symmetry to it, and compelling leads.Oh, man did this thing hurt to leave. It just ended too soon. Just. Too. Soon. Fascinating alien species, and a world I'm agog to read more of.Marvelous world-building. Really, nicely-done.That cover, though...*extended silence during which one may safely presume volumes are being spoken, cuttingly*Okay, fuck this, I can't stay silent: that cover is an abomination. Especially when the story's got so much work put into it.It's the spiny fins on the tail. Considering what happens in the... and then the 7-foot tall Alien represented by an average human torso... but then with a kind of half-assed purple spray-tan applied inconsistently over it like... ...With a belly button?Because they come out of eggs with umbilical cords? ...fuggeddaboudit.Story's good, at least. Real good.