In the first book, I was enamored with the unique focus the book has on the nefarious thief guilds. And it was deserved.
After reading Blades, I'm just an all-around fan of what Dalglish is doing here. These books are just awesome fun.
The author has a demonstrated command of writing fast-paced stories, while keeping the plot sufficiently complicated so as not to be pure brain candy. The breadth of characters in the book is appropriate - not too broad (as he suggests in the Author's Note that "Cloaks" was), and not too narrow. It gives you the impression that Veldaren actually sleeps and wakes...it's believable.
Worth noting: if I didn't know better, I'd think that author was actually an accomplished swordsman. His descriptions (of which there are plenty) of swordplay are truly brilliant...it's one of the things that stands out most readily for me.
All in all, this is a terrific book. Pure fun - and now featuring characters that you can really get behind all the way.
On a personal note: the author includes an "Author's Note" at the end of both this book and its predecessor that I find EXTREMELY endearing. I wish every author did a little bit of this. We can see what he was thinking when crafting the story, and it makes the story that much more memorable. Bravo, Mr. Dalglish.