Fascinating! Most fantasy books are set in worlds based on western myths and stereotypes. This one is different -- based on Oriental ideas and culture, particularly China, I believe. Very well written and entertaining. The conclusion to this book is *Gatherer of Clouds*.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It was a little frustrating that the book ends in the middle of the story, but I was able to find a copy of the sequel quickly on PBS and am now in the middle of that. I enjoy the pseudo Sino-Japanese flavor of the culture, and the story itself is interesting and a little different. It's not "great literature," so I didn't give it five stars, but it's well thought out, believable, and absorbing.