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As magical an well written, as creative and extraordinary the first book is, as chaotic, arbitrary and boring is the second one. It is just a string of random plots that do not effect the deus -ex-machina outcome. Our beloved, unusual Herod from book one return shallow, unwitty and- well stupid. The pace of the whole book is that of the first chapters of other books, one can't shake off the feeling that the "real story" has yet to unfold. Until the last page.
I will confess I am working my way through the book but I am seeing such a blatant agenda that it is actually starting to bore me. I tolerated the glorifying of bandits and their socialist mantra in the first book, however that was apperantly too subtle for the author. In this book he is squarely taking aim at religion and business as the evil doers. Regardless of the fact that nearly the entire population of this country believes in some kind of organized religion and works or supports their family by working for evil corporations and/or industrialist.
Boring, boring, boring...it lacks the complexity of defining real evil, real honor, real heroism, and actually tapping into the genuine human condition.