Picked this up because I do love a revolution, and I'm amused to check it out on Goodreads and see all the one-star reviews complaining about too much Marxism. As if! In my view, the problem with this book wasn't that it was too Marxist but rather that it wasn't Marxist enough. The story of a revolution of the common people ought to include at least one or two common people among the main characters! Ideally it should work against the idea of lone heroic leaders in the structure of the book as well as the ideas expressed by characters, although I understand all too well that that's quite difficult to write. But certainly it ought to include people who aren't professional revolutionaries--and it doesn't need the perspective of the oppressor.
Oppressors, it turns out, aren't very interesting. All violent men are alike in their behaviors and excuses. And the POV character representing the oppressor class embodies one of the annoyances I had with the book, which is that it's not very well researched. It's a novel, so of course it doesn't need to be geographically or historically accurate, but I do hope for a certain amount of accuracy when it comes to things like what addiction is like, the way(s) addicts experience a need for increased intensity/magnitude of their substance, and the dangers of sudden withdrawal.
Revolutions, like addiction, are things that happen in real life and that can be researched in order to find out what they're usually like. You can know what different revolutions did successfully and what brought failure to other revolutionaries. I definitely got the impression that Davidson would benefit from reading THIS IS AN UPRISING, my go-to source for info on modern/populist revolutions.
The other big annoyance I had with this book was that I'm generally a pretty character-oriented reader, and this is the polar opposite of a character-driven book. The characters were cardboard, barely three-dimensional enough to be game pieces propped up to move around a game board. Some readers might be more satisfied by a book that mimics the experience of playing an RPG with a really cool setting and a unique magic system where the goal is to get the revolutionaries into the houses of the aristocrats, but it just wasn't that exciting for me.