GRRR. This book was so frustrating to me, because for the first two-thirds, it was unquestionably a five-star read. The way it all concluded, though - WHY. WHY WHY WHY. Especially in a world in which it's immediately established on that magic exists - one character gets flashes of sentiment and stories whenever he touches an item someone else has touched first, another can hear and interpret heartbeats - why wouldn't you take a creative, compelling approach to resolution over a ‘grounded' ending that defies belief?!
Normally, I tolerate just-OK plots so long as the writing is good. The writing here is gorgeous, if occasionally overwrought - dark, moody, dreamlike, building a sense of dread that reminded me of Rumaan Alam's Leave the World Behind. But the plot felt like such an afterthought, I just couldn't get past it. Without getting too specific (but stop reading if you want to be 100% unspoiled!), the control mechanism the plot rests on was not compelling (and frankly borderline cliche), and the epilogue section glazed over a key plot point (like, OK, everyone in the entire community just accepted this world-shattering information and unconcernedly went on with their lives? no questions, pushback, anger? it's just...all good?). I felt like the author knew in broad strokes where she wanted to go but didn't think deeply enough about how to get there.