I know Maya as someone who is on Codex, an online writing workshop I’m a member of, though I don’t know her well through that, so you should take my recommendation of this book with as much salt as you feel you need. Codex was how I found out about Creature of Dreams — she posted about it there — and the cover and (mostly) the blurb got me to buy it, and then, well, I finished it in two big gulps, two evenings running. (I say evenings. This is evening for me, right now, 4 AM. I said the blurb grabbed me, didn’t I?) That was all the writing.
I identified with the characters, and Durham felt well-realized. I felt like the details were all well-chosen. This is a tightly-constructed book. Several of the sex scenes are serious I’ll-be-in-my-bunk material (and several are serious nightmare fuel). The characters are all wrestling with their histories, and that’s deftly handled. Nothing is too easy, not all the loose ends are tied up, but at the same time there’s a real sense of growth that I found… heartening, for lack of a better word.
The book’s got a deep understanding of the characters — what and how people who have had those experiences think, what responses they have ingrained, how they defend themselves. We defend ourselves.