You know the times you get a sequel to a series debut that you hope to God isn't a piece of crap. And when you think, nah way this is going to beat the first one but here goes.
Yes. Well. This. Ain't. One.
Now, I think it might be because each book (just finished #3) has a different perspective (Kitty in #1, Nate in #2), which means you're getting a fresh look each time and you're getting a fabulous amount of time for each character, as well as getting to know how they feel about each other. Not only that, things you think you know, and things you think are happening, might not quite be what they seem.
Nate's the kind of character I love. Broken, passionate, bullish, uncompromising except for the very few (and even then...). He makes decisions I don't agree with, ones I do, ones that make me go NOOOO!!! But the wonderful thing about the writing in the series so far is that we still have an array of varied characters around him for him to (usually) butt heads with, but occasionally get on with. and THEY all have personalities. They all have good and bad ideas, conflicts, determination (or not) and passion of their own. Though set in a world we wouldn't recognise, these people are real, and you want them to win their fights.
Without breaching into telling you how the story develops, the turn it takes nearer the end with the Outlands (which, being The Outlands Pentalogy, had to come around, so not a spoiler) recharges the narrative again, with a whole new vision of this world and discoveries to be had.
It is not easy to get such a layered story, strong narrative, fluent world building and absorbing writing all in one book, let alone two (or three).
Now, I'm writing this already knowing what happened in book 3. And let me tell you, you're in for some fabulous stuff!