Ok I got sidetracked here.
I thought it was great to be back in this world. The mythos and world building was significantly advanced. In fact maybe too advanced as I think a lot of mystery was removed.
The Missing seem to be humans that came to Abrth in a first wave. They then decided to strip themselves of negative traits like anger and greed and jealousy then upload themselves into some sort of computer paradise. That leaves the world empty as the ice creeps in (with maybe some humans that decided not to upload) plus a bunch of “demons” that are all the negative traits The Missing stripped.
Then comes a second wave of humans, the descendants of which are the human population of the books. But in the interim, the big AIs (the cities) start to break down and one of the AIs (Sues) goes rouge. Somehow Taproot has kept himself out of The Missing paradise bubble and is acting as some sort of system admin trying to keep everything running.
Also some guy names Prometheus is born from The Missing anti-tech crowd and becomes the leader. Some missing backstory here as he seems to have come over to the tech side, stripped himself of “demons” and joined The Missing in paradise. His demons are now trying to join up to piece him back together again.
Set up for the Big Bad is done nicely with some sort of Sues vs Prometheus vs Taproot showdown.
I liked most of the characters but thought, other than Yaz and Theus and Maya, that they were a bit one dimensional. I didn’t emotionally connect with them as much as in other Lawrence books.
I can’t figure out when this series takes place relative to the Holy Sister trilogy. Seems like there is still a small green stripe around the equator so it could be contemporaneous. Am I remembering correctly that there are references to the Pit of the Missing in the last trilogy? And am I remembering correctly that the Thorns trilogy or Red Queen also had the Taproot Needle gimmick?
Overall I enjoyed it and thought it was a promising start to the trilogy, that should set up the rest of the series well. Though I saw most of the twists coming and thought Yaz was a bit overpowered.