From the beginning, I felt that this sequel missed the verve, the fun, of the first installment. I read on, hoping that things would pick up once Priest got through filling in new readers on "in last week's episode." Instead the story seemed more and more haphazard. Things happen out of the blue, characters behave in ways that don't make any sense. How could a vampire survive acting as stupid as Raylene does here? Letting a dangerous wizard who is mentally unstable spend the day in your room while you're unconscious? Right after you for no reason
helped her escape capture for killing hundreds of innocent people just to off her ex-boss? This kind of made me want all the characters to snuff it.
Ditto the author, because after that she just DROPS the wizard and the quest for the magical penis bones, introduces some new people and a new little plot line, crushes that into a dozen pages, and rushes back to Seattle. Maybe you should just stay
in Seattle, Ms. Priest, and finally get around to thoroughly exploring those gas-zombies you keep half-assedly bringing into your steampunk series.
I don't know if Priest has changed editors, or what. I never felt like the underpinnings -- pacing, consistency -- were her strong points, so maybe someone else was riding her on those and now isn't. Or maybe she wrote this for contractual reasons and wasn't feeling it. Certainly the weakest of her books that I've read so far.