Sworn in Steel is the second of the Tales of the Kin by Douglas Hulick. The first was a brilliant tale of a Nose (basic level criminal who seeks out secrets for money) who is smuggling a book full of magic, which turns out to be more important than he had expected. It’s engrossing, full of fascinating details about the criminal underworld he lives in, and comes to a good ending, not cliffhanger-y, but makes you want to read more. I promptly sought out book 2.
Book 2 follows this guy, Drothe, and the band of fellow characters we’ve met in book 1 when he goes to el-Qaddice, which is a stereotypical Arabian Nights type place. There are mysterious assassins, djinn magic, wazirs, all that kind of stuff. But it’s boring. The book is very slow to start, and you don’t really feel like your main character is in peril at all so the stakes are low. And there’s almost too much going on, there’s about four sub-plots, which means there’s lots more to not be that bothered about. It ticks along fine, it’s not the worst, but I had to really make an effort to finish it.