The second volume of this much loved series is a solid and enriching reading experience. It builds on the depth and emotion submitted for the reader's approval in book one but adds further action, extra characters, more lessons for the various apprentices to learn and opportunities to put these into place. The new characters are met by the reader as well as other characters in the story (of course) and consequently, your kindle (as well as your own heart) will light up (or melt) when the young and very, very beautiful (but extremely dirty) Miss Evanlyn Wheeler comes forth out of the depths of loneliness and despair to introduce herself to some potential young heroes in the form of Will, Horace and Gilan. Of course, she is not who she claims to be, but her higher than average intelligence prevents the truth from being revealed immediately, and naturally, it leaves the door open for a bright young mind in her new acquaintance to put two and two together themselves. We know more about the book's ultimate baddies as well as their modus operandi. We also know of the ignorance and stupidity of other minor characters in the story, as the novel pans out in a plethora of different directions simultaneously. What Horace wins now may well break Will's heart, but he is ignorant of the beauty and potential soul mate being guarded for him back home by his mentor Halt. What goes around, comes around, fellow book lovers. ! This series is evolving into something quite special. It is not exactly action packed but Mr Flanagan is taking things slowly, making sure he gets it all right. The reader is more attached to the book's central characters than they might realise, even by the half way mark of book two. The potential for love, loss and death are everywhere, especially with a vicious war on the horizon. There are hints of black magic in use by some, but this has not been witnessed at this stage by the reader. That would be the only criticism I could make of the project so far. I like magic in a fantasy tale. But as the story evolves in time with the lives of the young men and women at court, and on the battlefield, anything could happen. So don't be surprised when it does. So THE BURNING BRIDGE is another hugely recommended read, and of course it is a no brainer that you will grab it and begin to savour it as soon as you have finished book one. ****** Book finished August 30, 2015 and i can say it is truly awesome! Something truly unexpected happens that will make you hold your breath, scream out DONT BE STUPID! And then time passes, evens transpire and you are sitting and then standing and then jumping up and down, hugging your dog, your bear, your little sister, your little fish in joy, unbelievable joy. And then something else happens and you are like, WHERE THE HECK IS BOOK THREE? GIVE ME BOOK THREE NOW!!! BFN Greggorio!