It's time for the next generation of characters to take center stage in The Band series, which gives this second book of the series a very different vibe from the first one. The all-male members of the band Saga are now retired and the story shifts to focus on Fable, a young band just entering their prime and led by the infamous Bloody Rose. Fable is a far more diverse group of adventurers than Saga was and they are also not prone to killing off their bard in every encounter. So it should probably not be a surprise that the main PoV character is actually Fable's new bard, Tam, who leaps at the opportunity to join the band to get a little adventure in her life. Tam is full of excitement at the prospect of telling the story of Bloody Rose, who is a living legend, but she quickly realizes that the real Rose is not the one the other bards sing about. Rose is fighting her own inner demons and is willing to risk everything, and everyone in the band, for glory, so this time around it might not be just the bard that dies.
I think more female characters were desperately needed in this series, so I was glad to see a better balance of main characters, but it comes at at a cost. The cynical perspectives of the grizzled veterans in Saga is what gave the first book it's charm and that is lost by following a band of young adventurers. The musical references remain but a good bit of the humor is gone, which makes this feel like a completely different series. Thank goodness some of the characters from the first book show up to play a part in the story, but the fact that those were my favorite bits made me just want to tell this new generation of characters to - get off my lawn! It's a decent book but feels like it was written for a different audience than the first one and it left me unsure about continuing with the series, I'll make the call when the next book comes out.
Katherine Fenton does a decent job on the narration in the audiobook version and is a good fit for all the female lead characters. The change in narrator feels good until the characters from the first book show up and then it just contributed to my feeling of wanting more of the first book and less of the second.