This book was actually more like a detective novel than a fantasy novel, and takes place in an alternate history medieval setting where most of the characters are middle-class citizens. Magic is a part of everyday life, mainly in the form of astrology, where the stars determine the lives of the people. There were no coming-of-age rites or epic quests to go on as per the usual fantasy fare; instead the plot revolves around Nicolas Rathe, who works a job equivalent to that of a policeman and investigates a mystery involving disappearing children. The story is utterly simple as all the scenes are basically just Rathe running around the city questioning people-- basically the unglamourous and often uninteresting work that make up what real-life detectives actually do, without any sort of real excitement or action. I wasn't interested in the mystery at all, which there were no real clues about all through the book and then was solved through a series of last-minute revelations. What ultimately kept me interested in the book was its superb world-building, which was detailed, intricate, and felt very real-- probably some of the best world-building I've ever encountered in any story-- and completely outshined everything else in the book.