Although I was disappointed by The Blade Itself, I decided to continue on with the series to see if all that plodding, plot-less character development was worth the time I invested in the book. As a matter of act, it was. Book two feels more structured and the characters actually have goals that almost relate to one and other. Plot-wise it's some pretty standard stuff here: there's the quest for the magic object of ultimate power, the great battle against the foe from afar, and the well-nigh impossible stronghold defense against foe from afar #2. What sets this book apart from other fantasy stories I have read is the general unlikability of most of the main characters. Just when you think there might be a moment of redemption things always seem to go back into the crapper. That said, I am going to continue on to book three expecting a big payoff that will be soured some how.