Continuing right on from the events in book one, Black Sand Baron continues the adventure and kicks things up a notch (as you’d kind of expect). The players are settling in, the hunt for Ned and his talking axe Frank is on, and the world keeps on a-changing. Portals are opening all over the world, a new god is being born, and Ned has a city to build.
This second story diverged a little from the pace of the first but in a good way. The first book had a lot of set-up, learning the system, and the like. With book two, we don’t need a rehash of all of that, so the story ticks along a little faster. Not always frenetic, but there seems to be stuff going on all the time. The battles are getting harder, well, some of them, anyway. Ned still has a bit of the old plot armour going on where he sometimes walks through encounters a little too easily for my liking. But there are plenty of full throw-downs that make up for these.
More character growth in this one for Ned, leaving that feeling of him being a douchebag behind and feeling more like a person with real problems and goals in life. House is another fun character we get to see growth in. The home security system AI, aka House, is a character that’s easy to like. Frank, the smartass axe still probably gets all the good lines, but I’m okay with that. He’s the funny sidekick, and he works well there.
Travis Baldree, of course, does an excellent job on the narration. At the time of writing, I think this is the seventh book I’ve got with him as the narrator. He’s got an easy to listen to voice and great pacing, and the final production is always clean.