This is a very strange book, and perhaps it is a bit different than what I usually read— but my problems with it lie more in the world depicted by the author than in anything else. As it stands, this book is a lot more world building than character building— and the characters never really become more than somewhat simple, even extremely naïve. Ekayta, for example, is told to be one of the best Captains of the fleet, commanding one of the best ships there is— yet she is uncomprehendingly naive as she falls in love with a terrifying society.
Terrifying, yes. the Alseans are depicted very lovingly— it's fairly obvious that we're brought to love them and their strange culture : they're empaths, but they're surprisingly rigid in everything relative to human relationships. They also have a very undemocratic society, based on castes and biology, were individuals with the highest empathic power sit at the top of the pyramid, aided by fascist ideology (the way they handle family for example, or their militaristic society, or even the all-important emphasis on the Greater Good of Alsea above, to loosely quote, friendship, love, family, or morals.) This allows these leaders to freely break their highest law (using their empathy to manipulate and force people, and the book is pretty clear that the act is akin to rape) "for the Greater Good" (and their goddess will pardon them etcaetera, because god is always the go-to self-justification when you do Evil), even as they guilt-trip themselves into doing so.
And then it got even creepier. Emotional blackmail, mind control, one of the hero getting close to a ruthless character that would have modified her very mind in order to do Teh Greaturr Good, even sacrificing thousands of civilians as a blackmail pawn. WON'T ANYONE CALL THESE CREEPS OUT FOR WHAT THEY ARE? They're a society that's based on EMOTIONAL ABUSE? All of this because of a moral dilemma 101 basic course, you know the one with a train that's going to kill people, can't be stopped, but you can divert it to kill other people.
And then I got bored. Save-the-world/universe/planet stuff is... Well, I'm fed up with it. I don't like the nationalistic/patriotic rhetoric, I don't like the fake choices and dilemmas, I don't like shoe-horned warmongering jingoistic pragmastism, I have no interest for NRA rhetoric (it's not the gun that kills it's the person behind it duhhhhhh) and I care little about us white people's fantasies of invasion/colonization at the hands of aliens.
So yes. Everything felt very forced, creepy, and frankly Alsea looks like a dystopian society with very strange morals. It's like a fascist utopia, really, and I'm terrified that this probably wasn't how the writer wanted to portray them, but it really is what it looks like when you take a closer look to it.