This is the first main book in this series, though I started with the prequel.
The worldbuilding continued to be exceptional, although I did notice some inconsistencies between this book and the last. However, they were minor and didn’t bother me much. Far more important, IMO, is the richness and originality of the world.
The style still wasn’t quite to my taste, but it’s consistent and well-executed. I thought it worked a bit better in this story, which focused so much on the vicious violence of this society. The very matter-of-fact description, matched with acts of extreme violence, was really striking.
The characters were excellent. It was great fun to see Dantess again, as a fully-formed Priest of War, after getting to know him so well in the prequel. Horace, nominally the villain, was treated fully as a main character. In comparison, Galen seemed a little flat to me. Horace may be as Evil as his temple, but he is also fun. It’s a classic problem: the hero isn’t as interesting as his supporting cast. That supporting cast, though, is exceptional.
Dahlgren is a really wonderful storyteller. He knows how to plot a story, how to construct characters, and how to set them free in a rich and compelling world. I look forward to seeing what happens to the child of Chaos next!