I had some initial problems with this, because of a certain transparent manipulativeness, but the Black Beauty deconstruction kept me reading. And I'm glad I did, because most of this book is worthy and subtle and thoughtful and nuanced and all those other good words. I felt as if it fell apart plotwise in the last couple of chapters--as if the book drives towards an inappropriately tidy ending. But that may just be that I would have done it differently. Or, just that the revelation of who it was who was listening to Heron is such a perfect payoff, and implies everything else we need to come to the conclusion of the story, that it feels as if everything after that is anticlimax.
A very, very good book, my few structural issues aside.