Really glad I decided to give this one a shot even after my mediocre feelings towards Smoke & Bone. In book one, I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the writing, but the further along I read the more eyeroll-inducing the romance became for me. This book, however, has all the great atmosphere and beautiful prose with a much more manageable amount of romance plus a violent and brutal war. It hardly felt like a 500+ page novel. Can't wait for the next one!