This book is the sequel to The Outstretched Shadow, book 2 of The Obsidian Trilogy. Although the plot of this volume is fairly self contained, the characters are not and I think it would be rather confusing to try to pick this book up without knowing the background and back story from the first volume.
I was not completely satisfied with the first volume, and I found myself somewhat wanting to dislike this book, especially when the authors break their own rules. It's a very slight spoiler to mention that they introduce a dragon into the story, but since the dragon graces the front cover of the book, I will let myself mention it. It's cheating because in the first book they told us that there were no more dragons. They also continue to make a big deal about the virgins and unicorns thing, except that just how big a deal it is seems to be slightly flexible depending on the needs of the plot at the moment. The dragons, unicorns, and elves are slavish enough to the stereotypes to be annoying, and the Bad Guys continue to be a bit over the top, though they were a little more believable than in the first book. I wanted to dislike this book, but in the end I couldn't. There are an awful lot of fantasy clichés, but there are a few interesting and original elements, and somehow I found myself caring enough about the characters and how the story would go that I really wanted to keep reading. At the end of the book, something dramatic does happen which isn't really an ending, but does foreshadow the third volume. I think I can pretty well predict what will happen in book 3, but I still want to read it.
In short, annoyingly trite, but it still managed to be a good read. Let your tolerance for clichés guide you as to whether you want to read it. I'll give it an 8 out of 10.