I found this book less strong than the first, which I liked very much.I think O'Brien's real strength is in her characters- her people walk off of the page and are as real as real can be. I enjoyed Gaia's alternating defensiveness and realizations of her own mistakes- that was very insightful, and again- so true-to-life. I loved the strong messages about choice, which were both overt and less so. I think maybe I want to marry Will. I had some trouble suspending my disbelief at the matriarchy's structure & rules, and some quibbles with plot points, but the people kept me reading.