Oh, Mr. Ryan, you did what with the last three words of this 2nd part in the trilogy?? I bow to your unending brilliance.
Mostly because for the rest of the volume, I thought half the time "ooh, this is interesting" and the other half of the time "meh, who cares". As befits part 2 of 3, Ryan has modified his format to include other protagonists - three more, in fact. In addition to Vaelin (who has a slightly smaller story than the others), we hear accounts from Lyrna, Frentis and (someone new) Reva. I admit to being completely confused by this to begin with - we start with Reva, so I was super frustrated that he was taking a different tack, and concerned that I'd never hear from Vaelin again. Once I let the story unfold - about a quarter of the book - this got easier to handle. But I never really got over my irritation at the change in format and what amounted to a series of battle descriptions. After a while, those get damn boring.
Especially because, well, you know that Vaelin is going to win! And all of his comrades are going to win, too. There's one decent surprise in the middle but otherwise the story doesn't have a lot of twists and turns. I did appreciate the detail of the siege, Lyrna's ruminations on what it takes to be royalty, and also the strange churning of the relationship between Frentis and the Lady in Red (that's just what I call her in my head; she doesn't have a name).
It's obvious I'll read that final chapter, and it's already on hold with baited breath. And not just because of that ending (he'll figure a way to free our protagonist, I have no fear) but because he has woven a complex world and I need to see how he unravels it.