Okay, first: you know all those times we've complained about people in urban fantasy novels not having jobs, or always having the same jobs? Cardboard Fantasy Busker #12 and so on? Fathom has an insurance claims adjuster. And he is awesome, and he doesn't happen to be an insurance claims adjuster who's a secret ninja on the side, or an insurance claims adjuster who's the lost heir of whatsit, and he doesn't have special secret abilities. He is honest and diligent and he shows up, and sometimes things are too much for him but he hangs in there the best way he knows how. If there was nothing else in this book--and there are other things in this book--it would be worth the price of admission just for Sam.
Also I want to know some of the other things Poppo has been making all this time.
Also this is a book with taste and smell. It's not my tastes and smells, because it's set in Florida, but I've been to Florida, and I remember how it smells, and this smells the same in your nose and mouth. This is in some ways the polar opposite of how I enjoyed matociquala's All the Windwracked Stars: with AtWS, I knew the material in my bones, and Bear had gotten it right. Fathom is doing something different. Cherie writes the kind of urban fantasy I like, the War for the Oaks and Wizard of the Pigeons kind, not the "insert vampire A into slot B" kind. It's got setting coming out the ears, and the magic is very much itself and not somebody else's. This is a book with roots. And in time for Christmas presents, too! Aren't you lucky!