Often, series get accused of middle-book syndrome but this is a very solid entry and brings in quite a lot of new threads to the story that are sure to change the outlook of the remaining books.
What stood out for me in this installment was how each of the four POVs brings a very distinct voice and aspect of the story to life. We have the cringe-worthy tyrant (Geder) the power that banking and commerce can have (Cithrin), the affect of politics/rumours (Clara) and good old fashioned sword wielding (Marcus). What I enjoyed was how the lone hero is possibly the least effective which makes for a nice change of pace in epic fantasy. The lead characters are interesting but Daniel does his usual trick of having excellent supporting characters in the form of Kit, Vincen and Yardem who easily come to life despite not having in-depth POVs and feel more "real" in the sense we don't know their inner thoughts.
Fans of action may be disappointed as there isn't much hands-on fighting and the large battles tend to happen off the page. Then again the book does have more than enough drama and tension exploring the other aspects of the war so the lack of action wasn't an issue for me.
Daniel also starts to explore racism among the 13 races - something that is often ignored in fantasies with such diverse inhabitants and I'm curious to see where this leads. I also appreciated some unexpected developments in the book as there were at least two story threads that resolved differently one was plot driven and the other was character driven. The book doesn't end on a cliffhanger but the revelation of the final chapter has me eagerly awaiting book 4.