Why more people have not been reading and talking about this series is absolutely beyond me. I read Ken Scholes' [b:Lamentation|3531469|Lamentation (Psalms of Isaak, #1)|Ken Scholes|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1312029311s/3531469.jpg|3573263] based upon the fact he's a local author, seemed like an upstanding fellow, and based on the personal recommendation of a friend who is associated with Ken's writing. I couldn't possibly have been happier with the result - Lamentation was a triumph, a truly unique, well written and engrossing tale, a hybrid fantasy with intelligent robots, magic, warfare, drama, romance, and some of the more intriguing characters I've read in any book.
[b:Canticle|164154|A Canticle for Leibowitz|Walter M. Miller Jr.|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1329408540s/164154.jpg|250975] picked up right where Lamentation
left me, up to my neck in deep character drama, a world torn apart by conflict, moral and tactical decisions and dilemmas abound. The book starts with an absolute bang, going from a quick intro right into an atom bomb of an event, one that shaped the rest of the book, and one that laid the groundwork for the unraveling of events through the rest of the book. Some of the events in this book are much heavier than in Lamentation, much darker, much more dramatic. There's more than one heart-stopping moment, eloquently described and with sufficient drama to really put you in the moment. I've come to like these characters, feel for them, understand them, and even the ones with questionable morals or intentions are well enough explained that you respect and understand them, and feel for their dilemmas and losses.
Luckily, even more of the world's lore is unraveled during this book, much more about the Andofrancines and their libraries, their mechoservitor robots, the drama of Whym and Y'Zir, the building of Sanctorum Lux (which leads to a pretty dramatic few pages towards the end). One of the main characters, Jin Li Tam, is perhaps one of the most torn - stuck between loyalty to her family that is ingrained deep within her, but struggling with her family's betrayal of her, using her for political gain and to push their agenda. She's got her baby with Rudolfo, the man she's come to love, and must balance protecting her newborn and sickly son, finding a way to cure what ails him (that came partially at her own doing), and to do her duty as the new wife and queen of a kingdom and army. Rudolfo is met with much of the same, the need to find the cure for his only child and heir, while pulled morally in different directions, and forced to choose between what might benefit the world as a whole, and what he truly desires for himself and his family.
We also see much more of Neb, Winteria and the role she plays with the Marshfolk, Isaak the mechoservitor as well as some more of his kin, and even Charles, the creator/builder of the mechoservitors. There are layers and layers of drama and history here, each move bringing more layers and complications, each making the world deeper and more interesting. The ending feels both a bit less "solid" than the first book, and goes on a few pages too long - it kind of slowly fizzles out, ties up some loose ends but still leaves a ton open. The events of the book were so dramatic and captivating, that the ending felt a bit sluggish and underwhelming. It left me desperately wanting to begin reading [b:Antiphon|7979699|Antiphon (Psalms of Isaak, #3)|Ken Scholes|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1316727570s/7979699.jpg|12361043], but it also left me a bit disappointed. I can't really complain about it too much - every book will have it's slow points, it just sticks with you more when it's right at the end.
The writing, as with before, is very approachable, makes characters and dialogue feel real and natural and never forced, people make what seem like appropriate choices and actions. The book's not perfect, nor is the writing, but it's flaws appear in a more endearing way, rather than an annoying one (although, after the fifth time someone was spacing out mid-conversation before 'realizing that xxxx was speaking' and going 'huh, sorry what?'...). There is still obvious growth between the first book and this, and I continue to hear it just gets better and better as the series progresses. Which I will soon find out, as I simply cannot get enough of this world, of it's people and it's history, and I can't get enough of Mr. Scholes' wordcrafting and worldbuilding.