A beautiful and lush book that has some of the best descriptive scenes I have ever read. I'm usually not a person who gets off on lengthy descriptions of scenery, material goods, clothes, poetry, flora, mud, ghosts, towers, falling light, etc, etc, and in general I view the world as a series of black and white circles with simple text labels on them. However, I found the etoliated crocus's of this book to be genuinely enjoyable, and I would find myself happily reading 50 page sections that were almost entirely about the sensory texture of things. There is some plot to the book, and some character and plenty of world building, and these were all quite fine and nothing was wrong with them and they were occasionally quite good. The main focus and strength of the book though is in its language and descriptive powers.
P.S. Olondria actually reminded me a tiny bit of _The Historian_, in that they both involve the supernatural, and fetishize the written word and tourism in distant lands. Olondria though is vastly, vastly more intelligent and better written. Apparently the author spent a decade editing and revising this book, and the effort wasn't wasted.
P.P.S. One of the text-based religions in the book is based on a giant meteorite that had been found in a desert. The meteorite was covered with thousands upon thousands of lines of unknown text, and upon deciphering and translating the text they turned out to be this huge list of surprisingly sensible maxims, aphorims, life-heuristics, and such. How cool is that? So much neater than coming down from a mountain with a few stone tablets.