Very satisfying read from LMB. She nearly always delivers something fun and fast. I read it in one night, though you might not be able to do that if you have work and kids and stuff.
Ivan has been a minor character in some of the Miles books, usually comic relief of some sort. This time he's protagonist and we get to see that he's not at all stupid, and can be clever and even likeable. She mentioned that having new girlfriends all the time also means the old one's aren't sticking around, which makes you feel more sorry for him than disgusted by his womanizing ways, and so improves his approval rating a bit. You see him as more than someone who is selfish, shallow, and manipulative. I think his likeability also went up a lot because he was just so thoroughly outclassed by the two women he's pursuing.
I love how the whole marriage-of-convenience worked out. After this and Shadowlands, I'll be sure never to undertake a marriage of convenience with anyone I wouldn't marry for real, hah! Because life always turns out like an action-scifi thriller, of course. Or because I'm so much like a brilliant writer Oxford don.
I'm still a bit unclear on what happened to the mycobacteria tunnel digger. It seems that it made a lot more tunnels of a lot more length than we expected, but is going to be perfectly safe now? I'm not sure how that works, but LMB nearly always has science fictional elements that go badly awry but then work out fine in the end. Her books are for fun and not very serious.
I really did like the contrast between the way Tej's family treated her or saw her and how Ivan did. I think that's the part that's real about this book, and echoes similar ideas in the Sharing Knife series. Anne Tyler said what matters is not how much we love someone but who we are when we're with them. I think that may be true.