While the story remains as intriguing as ever, it's noticeably less hilarious and more serious, more violent, and darker, all of which suits me just fine. Some readers might find Falcio's ability to solve every intellectual puzzle boring and predictable, but I found it interesting.
Another noticeable thing in the story is the maturity of the characters. They aren't the arrogant fools of Traitor's Blade. While still as cocky as ever, their actions have become more calculated and we'll though out. Means their jokes have become sort of more mature too.
The sheer amount of action, twists and turns, plots, betrayals, and killings in the book are matched by few series, let alone books.
The only problem I have with the series is that I think the books are poorly named. While 'Greatcoats' is an excellent choice for the name of the series, 'Traitor's Blade' and Knight's Shadow' seem a bit lightweight.
But good job de Castell. It's writers like you that make me want to do nothing but read all day.