Reading this as a straightforward adventure (instead of a satire, which was suggested on the back cover but always makes me think I should be hearing sarcasm in the entire text) helped me to enjoy this book once I got past the first few chapters. I liked the main character, Isis, in all her stubborn, naive, resilient, asexual charm. Having been too squeamish to make it through The Wasp Factory, I was somehow surprised to find Banks was so good at portraying a believable 18-year-old woman. I thought the plot was fun, and at times it had me turning pages as eagerly as a mystery novel. I would recommend it.