This second instalment of the franchise has moved even further out of the realm of video games and into the more usual Fantasy realm of magic. As the story progresses it moves more into horror. We are no longer worried about the specific details of the powers of individual players. Now we have a few players with a whole new level of power. The conflict now moves away from individual battles and into several levels of more interesting inner and inter-character conflicts. Unfortunately, Shadow is now less concerned about her loss of humanity, so we lose that fascinating inner struggle.
More blood, guts, and oh, so much pain. In fact, I’d have to say a bit too much pain. After a character has experienced “more pain than ever before” several times and survived, it begins to feel like a day at a nude beach. After a while, we just stop noticing.
To sum up, this next book in the series tries to take us in a different direction but depends too much on the physical mayhem and gore that carried the last book.
This is definitely a “to be continued” story, ending with a new tactic in the battle between Shadow and Engine. Like in the second book of many trilogies, the characters and their situations deteriorate a great deal in this volume (think “Empire Strikes Back”). I hope the next part of the series is a bit more uplifting.(4 / 5)