I remember picking up and putting down Steph Swainston's debut novel, The Year of Our War, several times when browsing the SF section in Borders back when it first came out and was being talked about and reviewed; I thought it looked interesting, and I wanted to read more SFF by women, but I wasn't quite sure if I would actually enjoy it enough to give it shelf space. I eventually bought it on Kindle last year, and having now read it I agree that it was interesting, and it's good to read more SFF by women, but I'm still not quite sure if I actually enjoyed it. It's a very, very strange book; mostly set in a fantasy world with mainly-medieval levels of tech and weaponry (but where the narrator wears jeans and t-shirts) where a small group of people have been granted immortality to support the (also immortal) Emperor in leading the two-thousand-year-long war between the people of the Fourlands (human and humanlike) and the giant, rapacious Insects, but partly set in what is either a weirdly surreal parallel universe or the narrator's drug-induced hallucination (the narrative supports the theory that it's the first, but given the narrator's drug habit I'm not sure how reliable he is). The immortals (who are chosen as the best in their various fields, and can be displaced by challengers) are an interesting if deeply dysunctional bunch. It felt a bit like a very trippy version of a comic-book superhero movie. I think I'm glad I read it, but not sure I will read the sequels.