Reasons I Have Quit Reading Your Novel This Evening
The cover copy of your novel made it sound like the plot was kind of stapled together out of cliches. But a) cover copy can undersell the originality of a story, and b) the cliches you are using are ones I kind of like, so I was willing to go with it — especially since your setting, being not the Usual Thing, was interesting to me in its own right.
Unfortunately, you have not managed to transcend these cliches. I skipped ahead to see if you would, once the story actually got moving; instead I discovered that it takes a regrettably long time for the story to get moving. Furthermore, you seem to lack the courage of your convictions where the setting is concerned: the names are a random mix, some appropriate to the culture, others not, with no apparent pattern or reason for this blend, and the first fifty pages are littered with small details that contradict the rest of the picture. (Example: the presence of a food that is not only non-traditional to that culture, but traditionally considered disgusting.) While I do not demand 100% fidelity to a real-world culture in a secondary-world fantasy, I cannot find any compelling aesthetic rationale to explain why you diverged from it; the result therefore feels watered down, rather than interestingly varied.
It’s a pity. I was quite hoping to enjoy your novel. Alas, it is simply not doing enough to hold my interest, but instead far too much to push me away.