Basically the plot is the-naive-young-man-finds-out-the-horrifying-truth-of-society type. And it's horrifying. On the scale of grue-low, grue-some, grue-high this story is grue-high, but not gratuitous. Don't let this put you off, it's part of the whole intricate world.
I think the culture is based mainly on Mayan precedent (see the comments on grue above) but I've probably missed lots of other cultural references. Also some "angelic" references. One interesting feature is that the technology seems to be mostly stone age although metals are known, and there are historical references to what appears to be a technologically different past. Pinto has a lot of fun in constructing stone age devices - loved the ranga shoes, the computer was, hmm, ingenious. And there's lots of fun for the paleontologically inclined, with saurians and ammonites.
The slash has to wait until the second half of the novel. This is not the focus of the novel but it is well integrated and gets our hero into trouble. The author appears to be gay.
The novel ends with Our Hero and his Friend in a tight spot; I hope Pinto hurries up writing the next installment so I can find out what happens and more about his fantastic world.
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