“Overreliance on your ingrained gifts can be deadly.”
Steampunk with dragons! What fun. Excellent world and character building. Enough double-crossing (of the reader) to keep our attention. Literary, musical, costume and historical references gives depth to various cultures. Excellent storytelling.
“… like all choices it involves consequences.”
Quibbles: The principal river of the focus continent has two outlets and seems to flow uphill. Glorifying smoking? How quaint. (Odd that this culture had not developed blood-augments flying/floating machines.)
“The great commander is nothing more than a pig fat on the blood of wasted youth.”
Even though the climax was what the reader comes to expect, it seems contrived. Too obviously a setup for the next book, rather than the logical end to this one.
“Overconfidence is frequently fatal.”