We are thrown headfirst into the rich world Bacigalupi has created. A near future dystopia set in Thailand, where gene manipulation of crops and plagues have thrown the the ecosystem off-kilter. Calories are the real currency. The Thai Kingdom has survived because of a carefully preserved untainted seedbank.
We are introduced to many characters, though it takes a while to figure out how they all relate to each other. There doesn't seem to be a real hero, all of the characters are flawed and contribute in some way to the chaos. The first third of the book was slow going for me with all the exposition, but once the plot picks up with political manuevering and murder it gets very interesting.
I would definitely read another book set in this world.