As someone obsessed with the DAO universe, my review is biased because I already have an attachment to this world and its characters. I devoured the first book and loved it, but this book just had me fluttering about like an excited if demented pigeon.
On the surface, the story seems simple. A King guides a motley crew of Grey Wardens through the treacherous Deep Roads to help them find a missing Grey Warden. But what it is, is so much more. It is about loss and regret, it is about trust and friendships. It is about how far a person will go to do the right thing, and how far a person will go to correct his or her mistakes. It leaves you with a feeling of uncomfortable uncertainty about the nature of evil and of good. And if you are a dog lover, it has a scene that will leave you misty eyed if not a complete emotional wreck.
In the end, it leaves you with a satisfying sense of closure, but you will see the Thedas universe with new eyes. No longer will you see the darkspawn as pure evil. No longer will you see those who defend humans against them as pure good, and suddenly, everything in the Dragon Age universe just acquired a patina of nuance that was until now not quite obvious.
And even if you are not into the Dragon Age universe, it is still an entertaining, action packed fantasy romp. Mr. Gaider's style is very confident and assertive in this book, his story is very expansive and lore filled, and yet he never loses his strengths- great interactions, a very intimate sense of story telling and characters that you will feel for strongly whether you want to hug them, or slap them silly.