I wanted to read this book for two reasons: because it's a Hugo nominee for best novel, and I'm reading my way through all the nominees I can, and because it's described as a space opera and I've been desperately craving a good space opera, of the sort I used to read years ago. Unfortunately, it didn't quite satisfy the craving on the second front; while it's space opera under the broad definition, it wasn't the sort of sweeping, not-necessary-to-explain-FTL galactic empire story that I was looking for.But the novel shouldn't be faulted for my expectations. It's a good story with some really compelling characters (once I got to know them a little) and intense conflict, which suffered from a bit too much head-hopping, in my opinion. The fact that I kept calling one of the characters a sanctimonious, self-righteous idiot and momentarily thought about throwing the book across the room is actually a compliment. I was invested. I wanted to know where it was going. I wish I could give 3.5 stars, but ultimately I thought it was closer to 4 than 3.