After a series of major changes in the last book(s), Royce and Hadrian are still pretty much themselves, though grimmer and more exhausted versions of themselves. Both are still working for the Melengar royal family, still sent on dubious quests to save the kingdom while subverting the Nyphron Empire, which sound like a lot but it's all in a days work. The work, however, is beginning to take its toll on both of them. With the world's fate hanging in the balance, there is less banter in this installment and more peril. These adventures are less fun as they become a matter of life and death.
The problems I have with this book can be summed up in a few words: I expected it to follow the first book's narrative. And when it didn't, I was disappointed because the first book was fun. This one? Not so much fun.