This is going to be a really brief post. Where the first book in this tetralogy (I'd thought it was a trilogy) was okay, the second - The City of Ruin - is a real drag. The action moves from the imperial capital of Villjamur to to the city of Villiren on an island along the northern frontier of the empire. The city is like a concentrated version of today's Russia in terms of both climate and criminality. Vampiric gangs run underground trades, hand in glove with the city's ruler. The city faces an imminent attack from the Okun, the inter-dimensional invaders introduced in the Nights of Villjamur. The inter-dimensional invasion is strongly reminiscent of Ian Irvine's Well of Echoes quartet. But, it's all very predictable. Newton makes use of some strange references; an otherworldly being arrives in a spaceship to rescue some of the protagonists in a perfect example of deus ex machina and her ship is coincidentally named 'Exmachina' and she refers to an ancient saviour named Frater Mercury (Freddy Mercury?). The author also has a tendency to use obscure words like panjadrum and febrile unnecessarily and inappropriately. The City of Ruin just doesn't work.