I will start with the negative bits. My issues stemmed from over excessive description, confusion of time and place, and un-answered questions. While I like description, things just got bogged down with all the description; things took twice as long to get through as they ought to, and things were described multiple times as if we forgot it the first time. I also kept forgetting this book was supposed to take place now, or recently; everything felt very old and far away, and while I understand that was to set the place off from the rest of the world, it often just felt confusing. As for all the un-answered questions I have, I know it's the first in a trilogy and so we'll most likely get all the answers, but for such a large book, I felt like more could have been answered. I think I'm suffering from book series fatigue right now and just want a stand alone that tells a whole story, so that might have clouded things.
As for the good. Despite complaining about the over-descriptiveness of everything, I thought it was really well done in creating the places in the book. I felt like I was in this little town on the sea side and it was really lovely. Likewise, the people were all really well done. I felt I knew everyone and who they were and a lot of their motivations throughout. Some people I'm still not sure where they fit in, but I hope that will be addressed in the future. Mostly, I really liked the story. I did feel it was overly long and took too long for things to happen, but the whole concept was really excellent and I can't wait to see where it takes us.
So, yes, it's not five stars, but mainly for personal issues with the text, rather than the story itself.
ARC from the author.
Edited March 26: The more distance from having finished this the more I find myself still thinking about it, the characters, and what's going to happen next. A book that lingers like that has definitely made an impression and warrants being bumped up star-wise.