Mutilated bodies appeared in the city aqueducts, luckily found by Books and Maldynado. A little later, people in the city are getting sick. Wondering if the 2 things are related, Amaranthe and her gang investigate.
One thing I liked about this was the interplay between the characters. They are a chosen family. Amaranthe (a former enforcer and one the first women), Books (a former university professor), Sicarius (assassin- for the Emperor), Maldynado (disowned by his family), Basilard (former slave), and Akstyr (former gang member currently learning about magic). Amaranthe is a bit idealistic and naive. The strength of their shared relationship is what made this book work for me.
I thought there were moments that should have been explored more (for lack of a better word). Like when Maldynado hit Akstyr and bloodied his nose. It was to see and prove if he could heal himself. There was a brief mention of his face later and then nothing until he needed to heal someone else. There was also the issue of foreign-run businesses in the city being framed; mentioned, but nothing came from it. Unless book 3 tackles that?
A map and list of countries/nationalities would also be helpful. There are the Turgonians, Kendorians, Mangdorians, Nurians, and Kyattese. It was impossible to keep anything straight. (At least for me). The Turgonians are the main inhabitants of the city/empire/the conquerors (I think).
At least I know I'm right when I write that Basilard is Mangdorian!!!
I do wonder if there will be any romance between Sicarius and Amaranthe later in the series.