a) The gender pronoun thing functioned like magic for me. When I read this book, I spent perhaps the first two-thirds still trying to assign male / female gender to all the characters the protagonist encountered, and then at some point, my subconscious realized oh, it doesnt actually matter! And stopped trying, making for a much more relaxed and immersive reading experience going forward. This is something that I would dearly like to be able to do in the real world: not care about and not immediately try to subconsciously assign gender to every person I meet, for a myriad of personal and social justice reasons, but mostly because it just shouldnt matter for anything aside from dating (and, yknow, Im bi, so not even that). So having a few hours when I could not care about gender in a fictional world felt like a rewriting of my brain, and magic, and the future. I might recommend the book for that alone, but I cant guarantee that youd have the same experience.
b) I really got into the characters and story. Now, here Ill admit that I found it slow going for the first half or so, and that if the gender pronoun thing hadnt been there to tease me along, I might have given up before getting to the parts I really loved, story-wise. But by the end of the book, I was completely caught up in the space opera, and I am now eager for the sequel, Ancillary Sword, completely separate from whether theres any gender pronoun stuff in book two or not.
Hope this helps you decide your book-consuming future. But in case you missed it, this is the very first novel to win the Hugo, the Nebula, the Clarke, and the Locus Awards. So theres that too.