Thoughts (spoilers)

I didn't finish the book.

I liked the Priest's Tale, in a Twilight Zone sort of way, even though it could probably have used 20-40% fewer pages.

Everything following is cotton-ball soft sci-fi, bordering on fantasy. I was going to do a big writeup of what makes this book so arbitrary and uninteresting, but the plot summary actually does a better job. Relevant questions like, what is the shrike, how does it get its powers, why is it compelled by violence and death, why does it interact with the characters the way it does, all go unanswered and it just becomes exhausting to constantly get strung along.

I didn't finish the book, but I'm going to take a wild guess that those questions, among others, are never answered.

I stopped at the Detective's Tale. I wanted to jump ahead to Het Masteen's tale because he was by far the most interesting character (in a botanist jedi kind of way). Only to find that he mysteriously disappears and doesn't get a tale. That was the last straw and I gave up, frustrated by the bait and switch.