This book had a bit of a slower feel to it than the first one. The last seventy percent really felt like when the story got moving. I maybe didn't love it as much as the first one, but still thought it was very good and enjoyed reading it. I've read a couple of reviews that were touch hard on Fitz. I'm willing to give him a pass as he's only about fourteen or fifteen. I too was mopey, self absorbed, and bitched a lot as a teenager.(show spoiler)
My reason for the loss of a star was Regal, and the glaringly obvious fact that killing him would solve most things. Shrewd was hard to deal with as well even before he deteriorated he was amazingly blind to all Regal's super obvious treachery. It was frustrating.
After a build up like this I'm going for an amazing ending. At first I was going to wait a bit before I started the last book, but now I'm thinking I'll start right away. This is mostly due to my lack of understanding, of the read l red ships, white ship, forging, and Elderlings.