I picked this book up in a hurry but it has surprising depths, despite its cover! Ginger is studying at the NY School of Culinary Arts. She is uncomfortable with her body and with her image. She dresses down (and wears funky sneakers) - trying to hide herself away. This is a reaction to growing up with her mother, Coco, who used to work as an exotic dancer and still teaches hen parties for a living. Coco is Very comfortable with her own skin. This book is about seeing your parents with new eyes when you grow up and your reassesment of them. Ginger has to move past simple feminist prejudices and see Coco as a living embodiment of a strong woman who has always been there for her, despite apparently revelling in being a sex object - very nicely observed.
I chose this book carefully. I have read a lot of SFF and if one is not discriminating, it can all blur together into one big quest. I was not disappointed - this is a good, well written story with an active pace. The characters are well drawn and you care for each of them. There is a decent magical premise and a suitably complex political plot. There are no boring long drawn out bits. The relationships are fairly sympathetic, though everything is terribly secret. Still, as it is unusually, a duology - I shall be getting Book Two.