By comparison, Embassytown wasn't vague.
However, neither of them gave a lot of sensory details about setting, so I'm not sure what made the difference for me. My tentative theory is that a sense of place can be given through sensory details (LOTR is a classic example), but a book can also be a place, and the prose in Embassytown-- that steady, focused narrator-- made it seem as though I was reading something in particular.
I don't know whether the way my sense of place works is unusual. Do you find there are books which give you a strong sense of place without having a lot of sensory detail?
Also, Embassytown struck me as very Delanyish-- not as sparkly, but with the strong interest in how language works, and with details of what's happening to people's status and involvement in different groups. Some reviewer found the book reminded them of Gene Wolfe, and I can't imagine why.
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