I read this book last year, and having found it to be a wonderful example of gripping Epic Fantasy, this re-read allowed me to delve into the deeper nuances of the story and pick out all sorts of details I had missed on my first, heart stopping read. Vengeance is a thought-provoking book, and in the usual Irvine style, left me desperate for more!As I have to expect in an Irvine book, world building is immaculate in this book: everything has a purpose, a role, and it’s all vividly realised through the prose. The history is rich and complex, and the races of the Cythonians and Hightspallers are wonderfully delineated in terms of customs and speech. It did take me a while to place the Pale and the Herovians within this world, but I got there! One of the things that grabbed me about the book is that the first part – 193 pages – occurs over just a few days hours. It’s insane! I kept waiting for the characters to catch a break, and they never did! Vengeance is difficult to put down, and even when you’re away from it you’re always thinking about it!The characters in the book carry a special place in my heart – Irvine has written about developed characters with clear conflicts and motivations that I found easy to empathise with. However, I still think that Tali could have been a little more complex: she’s your typical underdog for a lot of the book but does have shining moments where she steps out of that role. My favourite character is Tobry – there’s just something about him that draws me, plus his sense of humour provides a welcome reprieve from the darkness offered in the story.Reading the story for the second time around, I was struck by the desperation of Lyf to return his people to their former glory. Previously I had just read him as a power-hungry bad guy – but this time around I saw other depths to his character and I’m really looking forward getting to know more about him as the series continues. Credit has to be given to Irvine for writing Lyf so that, even as I am hating him for threatening Tali and Rix’s lives, I am sympathising with him for the horrible things that have been done to him and his people.Having read and loved Ian Irvine’s The Three Worlds books, I was nervous that I wouldn’t like this new series because, honestly, how could it get much better? Although Ian Irvine has written a completely different type of book in Vengeance, his trademarks of amazing world building and characterisation are still in evidence. It will be enjoyed by both fans of his earlier works, and those new to his work, and I highly recommend it!You can read more of my reviews at Speculating on SpecFic.