I only discovered this series this year so I did not have to wait years to read both books. This has the advantage of having fresh memory of both main characters but it has the downside of making comparisons too.
We start to story with our two remaining Gentleman Bastards: Locke and Jean. The first book was rife with emotional heartbreak of the downfall of the Gentleman Bastards in Cammorr. The build up of the attachment to the characters in the first book was well done because it had multiple flashbacks to watch Locke and company grow. This time around the book takes place only over a 2 year period and I did not feel as engaged emotionally. In some respect the Gentleman Bastards have hit rock bottom and it takes time to climb back up to your former glory. The first half of the book is concerned about info dump, multiple seemingly unrelated plots...which I'm sure will come handy in the coming installments. It was a bit tedious and dragged a little but the second half made up for it quite well.
As Locke and Jean are getting their feet under themselves with a new scheme...their quiet operation is hijacked and they are thrown, quite literally, as the cover suggests...on a ship. Now the Gentleman Bastards are superb impersonators but they never lived on a ship other than as a passenger. They are so out of their depths and lying left and right to keep their heads above the water that it's nerve wracking. To add some spice, the prologue is of Jean betraying Locke...which is shocking and keeps you reading to see how those two could ever do that to each other.