Better the second time around. Each episodic moment - Phedre's bonking people again! Phedre's hobnobbing with Venetian royalty! Phedre's in prison! Phedre's kidnapped by pirates! etc etc etc - was about twenty percent too long, so the momentum of the overall plot would drag before slamming you back into plot! and action! and stuff happening!
Also, I had forgotten that at the end of this book was when I actually started having any sort of emotion towards Joscelin other than
patient disinterest. He's much more entertaining when he doesn't take himself too seriously, which could actually be said for Carey's writing overall. (See also: my rapturous adorement of [b:Saint Olivia].)
Minus one point for Carey not handling the dodgy consent issues with the pirates as well as she'd handled other situations of sexual consent in the first two books.