A better balance than the first.
There’s a four year gap between the last book and this. Galharrow is a little sadder, still drinks as much, but now has some wealth, status, and responsibility by running a full Blackwing company. After a few years of relative peace, things are starting to deteriorate again. There are sightings of a mysterious woman in the light around the city of Valengrad and a cult called the Bright Order has formed from them and it’s causing unrest by highlighting class differences. There are also sightings of Darlings and rumours of an old enemy re-surfacing. The Deep Kings have also not been resting and are about to unleash a new weapon against the city.
The first half of the book re-orientates the reader with the city and the current state of it while also being a bit of a mystery in that Galharrow and company need to figure out what the hell is going on. The second half takes us deep into the Misery again and we learn a little more about it. Galharrow is definitely more relatable in this book though by the end, and the changes that he undergoes, who knows how he’ll end up. This is genuinely a much more melancholy book compared to the first one, and though is still firmly in the grimdark sphere of writing, it has matured into something more compelling and seems to rely less on gimmicks than the first book.
The first half was interesting but it really came into its own once we enter the Misery again. There’s something about the idea of it I love and I find I thoroughly enjoy all the time that is spent there. This section once Galharrow finds himself alone (mostly) was my favourite part and honestly probably raised more questions than it answered.
The end, except for one part in particular when Galharrow went all Iron Man which was preposterous, was good and has made me very curious about where the whole thing is going. So far each book seems relatively standalone in that the main story of each book gets an end in that book compared to whatever the overarching plot is, of which I have no idea. I can kind of see what might happen in the next one but where the main plot is going I don’t know, will there be some sort of climax between the Nameless and the Deep Kings? I’m not so sure. Anyway a better read than the first and looking forward to finding out what happens next.