A major aspect of the story is the hopelessness of the main characters' struggle. I understand it is a work of fiction and as such, the plotline can develop in any which way. But I found it hard to accomodate to a world in which the antagonist broke every rule and succeeded in every plan, while the heroes played by the book and were systematically crushed.
The author was brilliant in creating a dark and despairing atmosphere but personally, I was annoyed at how easily Regal managed to get things done his way or when the main characters were close to figuring a mystery only to suddenly swerve in another direction or simply seeing the good guys outsmarted, despite evidence of their cleverness. And this exasperation stuck with me for better half of the book.
However, I still liked the book with Fitz bonding with NightEyes and learning to be there for each other, and all the adventures Fitz had on the battlefield or in court politics. I was horrified by his torture at Regal's hands and truly felt for him when he believed even Burrich had abandoned him. I fretted over his hidden relationship with Molly (and suspect she left him to raise their child alone). I worried over the Forged ones closing in on Buckkeep and the significance of the white ship.
The second novel ended on a very forlorn note with a lot of loose ends. I'll read the third novel and pray for lighter atmosphere in the story and for a happy ending for the characters I care about.