I actually struggled between 1 and 2 stars. This book is a huge let down from the first book of this series which was a prequel, telling the back stories of the three main characters.
The book could have been half as long and the story wouldn't have suffered a bit. At about the 60% mark it started to get okay -- after so many chapters of meandering inner monologues and pointless scenes -- and then it just got absurd and then even more absurd. Ridiculous. When the word "cancer" causes you to shake your head and laugh out loud you know the author has lost the way and you are definitely no longer invested in the story on any level.
I don't think I'll continue with this series. It's really too bad. I can't even recommend the first book -- Masters at Arms -- because it doesn't come to any conclusion in and of itself, it only sets up the rest of the series and it seems like those books just won't rise to the same level of story telling.