Entertaining fluff. Don’t be angry. Fluff, especially the entertaining kind, has its place. None of the characters from the first book are in Two Serpents Rise, but it is in the same universe. I appreciate series which center novels in the same universe, but don’t necessarily stack everything as one continuous narrative. Terry Pratchett did that with great effect in Discworld.
Two Serpents Rise shows more fall out from the war between the Undead Kings and the Gods. The novel focuses on Caleb, who works as an actuary or something for the the Red King, and whose father was the last high priest for the god of the city. On one hand, there is a rather trite father-son narrative here. It hits all those notes of “why didn’t you follow in my footsteps, son?” To, “why won’t you respect me for who I am and let me find my own way, Dad.”
The more interesting part of the novel is how the city adapted after the fall of their god. From powering the city to protecting it, the citizens make compromises and live with the results.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. I forgot to review it months ago and this is a pretty stale review. I’ll check out the third book sometime, because I think some of these characters meet up and I do enjoy the world that Gladstone built.