This is the type of thing that just tickles my likes, but doesnâ€™t exactly blow me away. Discovering ancient and mystical artifacts? Alternate ways of looking at the truth of these artifacts? Thatâ€™s all cool. The historical element is not something I normally read, though. This particular time period and some of the characters it encompasses does remind me of watching Rome on HBO, though. Not a bad memory and itâ€™s helpful to picture those depictions while reading the book. However, the writing is up and down throughout. Livingston has two annoying habits: 1) repeating things over and over in different chapters to remind you what they are. He does this a lot when talking about the Shards. 2) he ends every chapter on a Dan Brown-style cliffhanger. Sure, Iâ€™m sure there are things I like more that do this as well, but in these novels, it feels very manipulative.
Maybe for those reasons in particular, the second book didnâ€™t land as well as the first one, even though it has some fun moments and some crazy revelations. The end in particular was a direction I wasnâ€™t expecting the series to go. Good or bad, time will tell.
As to the characters, there is a distinct lack of Didymus, which is a shame. Also, Juba feels like a different character than where he started, which might demonstrate character growth, but threw me a bit when reading this volume. It changed my memory of the first book quite a bit.
Iâ€™m not sure if this is meant to be a trilogy or if it will go longer than that, but I will certainly stick around until at least book 3 to see if some of my gripes improve. After all, the first book left me with a good enough impression that I was looking forward to book 2. Perhaps this is a slight dip only.