I am in awe of the sheer virtuosity with which Larke has created her world. Water, or rather the scarcity of water, is the basis of government, economy, social hierarchy and even religion. The Stormlord ability, which can pull water from the sea, and send it where needed, is a hereditary gift. There is a conspiracy to kill off those with degrees of this ability, to return to human warfare and the vagaries of climate. The main protagonist, Slate, lives in an impoverished slum, but has latent water power, and this leads to his kidnapping, and attempts to murder him, as the last living Stormlord's powers weaken and there is no-one to replace him. The love interest comes from Slate's relationship with Terelle, who has the ability to alter the future by her paintings, but the powers-that-be need Slate to breed with someone with water talent. Warlike Reduners seek to overpower the other settlements, when growing water shortages lead to the threat of anarchy. One of their weapons is a dreadful insect called a zigger, which attacks by entering orifices and eating the victim from the inside. What a tale! Can't wait for the next instalment. This is a GREAT book. I was so sad when I finished it; luckily it's going to be a trilogy. AND, she's Australian.