The world Derr creates is fascinating. This book is a lot...heavier than the first one was. For one thing, it involves all three countries and a near-genocide on Salhara (so it would appear). And then there was so much killing...Well, it's heavier fare to begin with because it's not a strict romance. It's more fantasy with gay main characters, as opposed to gay fantasy romance. The romance isn't the main aspect, so there isn't a whole lot of exploration into it.This doesn't really mean much except that I've been approaching these books the wrong way. I think even with this one, after theoretically gaining warning from reading the first one, I still expected something more like Impractical (because it follows to disparate couples and/or clear couples-to-be). Still, I think I got over it (probably after Ingolf and Erich got separated...)It's also weird that the blurb makes no mention of Aden and the dude with the R name at all...The blurb is actually more geared towards explaining a romance, which, though it was there, wasn't the full focus of the book.