Apparently when I chose this book I missed noticing the fact that it was number FIVE in a series. That is way too late in a series for me to successfully jump on the train, so that explains why I didn't much like this book.
Also it was rather bleak. There were some realistically-drawn characters, but their lives were so depressing it was too terrible to engage with them.
Still, I did read the whole thing because I was interested in the story, so... half a thumbs up, I guess?