Quick-take: Kyler cannot escape the shadows.
The first several chapters of the book were not interesting. Basically, Kylar is a super ninja that does not want to do ninja-type stuff. Instead, he wants to settle down and sell herbs. This plot is about as fascinating as you can guess. Fortunately, an old friend stops by and convinces Kyler to resume the Ways of the Shadow, and the book starts to pick up. Kyler wants to be "good", but killing people is just too fun.
The plot, like in Book 1, is quite complicated. I am mostly hanging on the thread the whole way through, but I do feel like I am able to follow. My technique is to simply have faith that it will be explained. Unlike book 1, there were far more pauses in the story with explanations to help me. Thank you, Mr. Weeks. It was managed by having the character frequently think aloud the state of things and try to develop a strategy. There are many subplots and switching between characters.
This book is full of battles, magic, intrigue, and suffering. Lots of suffering. Characters grow from that suffering. I will just say their world is a very miserable place. For a while, my least favorite character was "Vi". All I will say about her is she is basically a adolecent boy's fantasy ninja. Fortunately, she has started getting a real backstory and actual character growth in this book. When will we stop getting reminder of her appearance during every scene she is in?
The finale was epic. Score: 5/5.
It is rare that I rank a second book higher than the first book. It had a slow start, but the book really hit its stride in the mid and later chapters. It started to become very hard to put down. I decided to get Book 3 for the conclusion. I like series that are actually complete.