I had a lot of trouble trying to get through this book. In fact, I had to stop at 53% and go read some lighter books because it was too depressing to read how Ayden is continually beaten down/put to hell for more than half the book. My god, poor elf had to put himself through so much torture at the hands of the humans. Betrayal, pain, misery, torture-you name it, Ayden suffered through it all throughout the entire first half of the story. I also found myself disliking Freyríc because of his weakening characterization and though he managed to finally make a stand at the very end, I never fully regained my previous love for him. For too long a portion of the book, he was depicted as helpless and blind. I would go as far as to say he was wimpy. Harsh, but Freyrík just paled next to Ayden, who is undoubtedly the true hero of the series. Ayden lost and suffered much more than he did, and still stayed and came out strong.
I also felt disappointed at the ending, hurray for the HEA, but it was just so abrupt and rushed. There were so many dark and miserable moments Ayden and Freyrík went through, it would've been nice if the author had taken the time to show some happy and relaxed times between them at the end, instead of what seems like a hastily thrown in epilogue. It was like the author got tired and just wanted to end it as quickly as possible.
Regardless, I give this 4 stars because the writing is still superior to many. I enjoyed the first book and might revisit that, but not sure about the sequel. Still, a very well-written epic fantasy series.