Humanity has been scattered and devastated by nanotech information plagues, and is living in fear of the 'Enlivened' nan technology, and especially the Flower Cities. Verity, who may be an escapee from Cincinnati, has been adopted by a fragile community of New Shakers. But when the community finally collapses, she finds she must travel back to the feared city, to discover her strange history, and to decide her fate.
We travel with Verity through a new, incomprehensible and frightening landscape that has been totally transformed by the all-powerful nanotechnology. Her confusion as she herself is altered by nan assemblers, and struggles to maintain her identity in face of onslaught by the City and its strange inhabitants, is well drawn, and we feel her confusion, too.
This is a wonderful portrayal of the potential horrors of nanotechnology. I would have liked to have seen a little more of the positive side --- it is there, but gets rather overwhelmed by the negative --- but this does well in showing how different things, and people, will be. And it's a good story, too --- you really want Verity to win through it all, to solve the puzzle of the City, and to escape safely. A wonderful first novel.