If The Blade Itself is the appetizer, this one is definitely the main course. In the first book, the main characters are introduced, in this book, they are all out there, in the field of their work, trying to do their best in the worst situation imaginable.
All the main characters are back. Glokta leading the defense of a sieged city, which is lost cause. Bayaz leading an unlikely alliance to search for the ultimate weapon, while West is trapped in the north, leading a campaign against an invasion. All facing their worst night mare.
The way of story telling is pretty much the same as the first book. It is the characters which are changing. They become more “mature”, tempered by the heat of battle and betrayal. Each of them realize, that they are the main pawns caught in the intrigue of the realm, but nevertheless, they are still pawns.
Everything that is prepared in the first book is let loose. The battle, the siege, the ambush, the blackmail, the torture, everything. A little bit of back story is given, which made the world building a bit clearer, but not much. You don’t expect to understand everything, right? Tragedy by tragedy followed, characters being killed.
And of course, being the second of three book, it keeps us waiting for more in the third book.
In a nutshell, it is a truly excellent sequel. Definitely a 5 star.