I think I liked the ideas a lot more than the prose or the plot. There is a lot of really great stuff in here, gene altered starship pilots who look like griffins or tigers or dragons, assassins and spies being built in a lab, a capable and interesting heroine building a starship crew and taking them out into adventures on the edge of known space. Lots of fun. The structure of the novel is off for me though, particularly the pacing which is kind of all over the place. Still, you can definitely see why Delany is a highly respected author.