I don't really have a lot to add to my previous review. This one felt like a more rational plot, more relevant to the over-arching story, and for the first time some real depth to the characters, especially Hadrian and Royce, whose backstories are partially revealed. Some of this was a little heavy-handed, particularly Royce's interaction with the Ratibor street urchin. Yes, we get it, the urchin is Royce, several years ago.
As in 'Avempartha', the women feel fairly caricatured. Thrace/Modina is effectively unconscious again for much of the book, Amilia is put in a nurturing role and Arista is still mostly the helpless baggage carted around by the men, or thrust into danger in order to be rescued, although at least she is beginning to develop some initiative (mind you, the transformation from helpless to rebellion-leader is not really believable). I understand what Sullivan is trying to do here, and I applaud his attempts to create strong female characters. It's just a pity that his method of doing that is to force them into a starting point where they are completely helpless or stupid or catatonic. Yes, they will grow over the course of the series, but since they start at rock bottom, that's not hard to achieve.
But still, a good read, the story easy enough to follow, and anything tricky explained a page or two further on. A little predictable, maybe, and simplistic in places, but then it's intended as entertainment so it would be churlish to complain about that. I'll stick with four stars.