I really hoped, with the half of my brain that also used to hope against all odds that it would rain on our running days in P. E., that this would be a good book. It didn't even have to be spectacular, just a well-done "Careful what you wish for" trope with a little dabbling in science fiction, as the synopsis seemed to hint.
Well for once, the dumb half was right. This was actually pretty good! It's not going to change my life, but there were "Awww" moments and some gasps and internal cheering and snickering, and some sickening dread and some indignation in the right places, and once or twice an "Aha! I can't believe I sort of understand what he's talking about!" All the little responses that let you know the writer has you where he wants you.
I like reading from a male viewpoint once in a while, but I'm usually put off by the swearing and the amount of time spent staring at cleavage. (Being a girl, cleavage holds very little interest for me.) There was a predictable amount of both in Fair Coin--if I had known exactly how much swearing was in the book I probably would have decided not to pick it up, but I'm fairly conservative on that point--but it's not over the top or distracting. I never had any qualms about finishing it or worried about corrupting my innocent mind.
Ephraim is a good guy (the familiar shy geek with a heart of gold) who wants to do the right thing, which keeps the story on the "uplifting and edifying" track. (Not in the same way, say, Anne of Green Gables
is uplifting and edifying, but there are some books that you enjoy that have the same objectionable elements--gore, drugs, gratuitous crime, inebriation, cleavage--that made you feel dirty in another book, and the key is usually the MC/narrator's attitude toward those elements. Ephraim being a perv would have bugged me a lot more than just Nathan, because I don't have to be in Nathan's head--I have Ephraim's amused, polite disapproval to distance me from it.)
I can't speak for its adherence to science fiction rules, or its plot-holelessness, since about two-thirds of the way through I gave up trying to keep up and said, "All right, Mr. Meyers! Whatever you say, you must be right." (It seems to mostly make sense now going back over it now that I've finished, but I'm too lazy to pick it apart.)