Previous book here.
"You're not going to want to miss this," --Emperox Grayland II
So at this point, Emperox Grayland II (i.e. Cardenia) is claiming to be having visions of the Flow's collapse, since that worked for Emperox/Prophet Rachaela back in the day and people, even scientists, want to be in denial about Marce's scientific findings. Except for one character, the scientist being paid by the Nohamapetans in the last book, who quickly makes friends with Marce and they discover even more about the situation together, such as temporary new shoals opening up. The Church of the Interdependency is wondeirng how to handle the situation. Nadashe Nohamapetan is currently in jail and her mother the Empress is SUPER MAD about everything and wanting her revenge--while Nadashe clearly wants be more active in this book, it's her mother who's the main villain here.
Kiva Lagos has been put in charge of finding all the whopping financial chicanery going on in the House of Nohamapetan, which is how she ends up meeting the Countess's lawyer, who she (cough)hits it off with(cough) in an amusing fashion. I love the attitudes and the knowing going on here, and what happens when Kiva really gets angry. Also, while there's only a few scenes in which Kiva and the emperox are together, I enjoyed the shit out of them (especially the last one) so very much. I DO want them to get together and talk about boys and braid each other's hair, dammit! I do!
There's also this quote that made me laugh:
"Kiva considered that she might be developing a thing for Fundapellonan, which on one hand would be a very not-Kiva thing to do, but on the other hand who gave a fuck if it was "not-Kiva," because she wasn't some fucking fictional character destined to do whatever some goddamn hack wanted her to do."
BWAHAHAHAH SCALZI. LOL YERSELF.
Meanwhile, people are being lost forever when the Flow dries up. It's truly horrifying in the description of what happens. Good god.
But the big plot development in this one beyond the usual political backbiting and maneuvering is the discovery that there's temporarily a way to get back to an infamous lost place, Dalasysla And much to the surprise of the investigatory team, the place isn't deserted...some folks have still managed to survive one way or another, giving them some hope that it's doable if the Interdependency can't continue to function as is. So that was hopeful and cool and I really liked one particular character who's introduced and I LOL'd when Cardenia met him.
Also, the ending? The ending is badass! I absolutely love how Cardenia handles herself. Everyone thinks she's a nothing and a noob that can easily be dethroned, but NOPE. She makes a delightful badass move that made me very happy at the end. It made me want to reread it all over again. So, four stars!