WarningMight contain spoilers.

I found this book delightful when I read it in 2017, and I’m happy to report it’s just as enjoyable and as much of a pleasure to read a second time. I can’t overstate the joy of a story where the gore and violence are not the goal; at the same time, it’s immensely satisfying to watch Miles accrue an entire army by accident, first a person at a time and later battalions at a time.

There are only three things that detract from my enjoyment of it. The first is the constant use of sexual assault as a weapon of war. The second is Miles weakly trying to defend Bothari by saying he loved Elena Visconti all these years after having sexually assaulted her. The third is referring to hermaphrodites as it, though that might be a product of the times.

Despite Bothari’s actions, his death is a sad one. Miles overdoes it when he finally consents to Elena and Baz’s marriage; perhaps that’s justifiable in context.

I immediately wanted more as soon as I finished it in 2017 but was nonplussed by the sprawling nature of the saga. I decided to face it head-on this time only to find the next few instalments (at least, the ones starring Miles) are massively inflated in price online, to the tune of over 1,500%. Now that I’m visiting local markets again, I might try to find them at down-to-Earth prices. One novel is not enough!