First I freely admit I liked this second book of the serial, despite its many flaws.
Ms Lackey is not a great writer, even as far as entertainment is concerned, but she knows her job well enough, she has some interesting ideas and has the skill to put them down.
Vanyel is now an adult, self confident, skilled herald-mage; most of the book is about his balancing his life as a powerful professional with the frailties every human being carries inside: he has quite a lot of them, truth to be told, Ms Lackey has that knack of depicting characters at odds with their life.
This might sound uninteresting to those used to action and epic fantasy, but if you accept the assumption, the (lack of) plot is well developed.
Vanyel is a smart, intelligent, endearing to his friends AND to the readers.
Truth still to be told, in this second episode flaws are more evident: the lack of polish of Ms Lackey prose is quite evident and some very interesting ideas are maimed by a general superficiality.
Furthermore there are some inconsistencies in the plot, which can lessen the pleasure of a very thorough reader such as I am.
This book is not as good as the first but still enjoyable.