This book was excellent, even better than the first book of this series, Gifts. The two main characters from the first book are seen again here playing important parts in the story, but the viewpoint character is someone new. Again, UKL's deft storytelling catches you up right away and pulls you into the action, thoughts, and feelings. In no way does this feel like Young Adult literature. Both of these books are awesome stories. There's nothing that's simplified here, or minor in any way.
The story is set in a city which has been overrun and enslaved by foreign invaders for seventeen years past. The viewpoint character is a half-breed, born of the rape of a local woman by a foreign soldier. Her heart is not divided, though. She's a girl of her people, the beaten enslaved people of the city.
The action starts when she meets Gry and Orrec from the first book. They're 20 years older now than when we met them. They travel around from town to village on the Western Shore. Orrec is a storyteller. He tells history and myth, fiction and nonfiction. Most of these are poetry, one imagines they're like Homer or Virgil, which he recites powerfully. They have a pet lion which Gry has trained. Their coming to the city sets in motion many things that result in great changes.
The action is captivating, but as in all UKL tales, the action is less important than the people, the characters and what they feel and think, what they do and who they become. I highly recommend these books to anyone. I'm going to read the third one, Powers, next.