Its weird, a lot of the problems I had with the first volume of this series were lessened in this one, but I think I liked it less. I still found the book a quick read and I enjoyed reading it... but I don't think it's very good.the characters in this feel a lot more realistic. Not wholly there, but there's people who don't fit neatly into the good side and the bad side - an issue the first volume had in spades. Also, fewer people in this one want to sexually assault our heroine, though they've been replaced with other people who just wish bodily harm.And Yelena.... oh my goodness, I found her a difficult heroine in the first book, but it was even worse this time. I can get that with ehr background she would want to take things into her own hands, but this NEVER backfires in any meaningful way on her. She virtually always gets what she intended to get, and when she doesn't it's unlikely that anyone would have managed it. She's selfish and stupid and her decisions should have cost not only herself but other people their lives and it's only through authorial contrivance that she comes out the other end not only whole but celebrated and powerful.If you liked the first, give the second a try. I didn't dislike reading it, though I doubt I will ever re-read it. But there were some major, MAJOR issues. Be warned.