I hadn't read the previous book in the set but after reading this one it makes me want to find it. The characters (especially Sandy) have that gritty quality that makes them seem more real. They're not all smiles and love. The way that the author includes a bit of future history at the end (Aku the Great, etc. et al) and leaves Sandy out of it was an interesting twist. Just goes to show no matter how much you do, if you're not a favorite with the higher ups you don't get any credit. If the first is anything like this one then I'm sure to like it.