It pains me a bit to be less than excited about a book with such glowing blurbs from Octavia E. Butler and
Ursula K. Le Guin, but thus I find myself.
The premise is an odd take on the Chosen One trope in fantasy; children born at a very specific time corresponding to the official establishment of an Earth-wide government are earmarked and groomed to take up places in that government in what is openly acknowledged to be an exercise in public relations. Jackal is like a princess who is learning management skills like how to facilitate meetings instead of being instructed in swordplay. It is, if nothing else, a change of pace from the usual.
The most unusual and riskiest portion of the book is the section in the center, which attempts to depict Jackal's years in solitary confinement—actually subjectively induced during a shorter period of time, but still. It seems both too selective to convey the the torture of regular, non-virtual solitary and also kind of a boring slog to read.
Also, while Jackal and her relationships with a few people in her life felt very real, the world she lives in never did, even after she was torn from her privileged position in the literally insular corporate island nation where she was born. I don't buy the world, I don't buy its politics—or, mostly, seeming absence thereof—and I don't buy the final reveal at the end, even though I find much of it engaging and plausible enough on a page to page basis.