Now here’s a book that I didn’t enjoy at all, but which I still think is quite well written and worth a read overall. It’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but if nobody would mention it you probably wouldn’t realize it (the plot skeleton is lurking in there, somewhat more subtle than in most retellings). That said, its main romantic hook is between a healer’s daughter and a female dragon in a post-apocalyptic world (brought on by alien invaders who have left already) where science and magic are closely interlinked.
This isn’t a science fiction setting with some spells thrown in or vice-versa a fantasy setting with some science fiction gadgets, but rather such a strange melange that feels like a whole piece where you can’t just cut out one part of the equation. This is probably what sets this apart from its inspiration and other retellings, the amount of world-building is immense and feels like a main character in its own right. And that world-building has such an impact on the characters, bleeds into their motivations and how they see the world, that it makes for less than fun reading.
This is a post-apocalyptic world, with all the craptastic elements such a setting implies. It’s a miserable, broken world, and the characters rightfully feel oppressed and distressed most of the time. Even when the main characters get together and reach somewhat of a happy end, the miserableness of the setting still bleeds into everything and dominates the tone from beginning to end. Again, this is really well written, but that just means it makes you feel everything even more.