While in the first book the supernatural element was more of an undercurrent throughout the novel, in And Blue Skies From Pain the three-way war between the Church, the Fallen, and the Sidhe plays a much larger role (as Liam and his priest friend Father Murray attempt to broker a fragile peace between the Sidhe and the Church). But again, the real heart of the book lies in Liam's struggle to overcome the terrible events of his past. I have to admit that in the first half of And Blue Skies From Pain, I spent a lot of the time wanting to smack Liam upside the head - but that is not a critcism of the book, because I think his self-destructive impulses and angry outbursts are dead on target for a realistic portrayal of someone who's endured as much abuse as he has. Real pain isn't all pretty angst, and I appreciate a book that can give an unflinching look at it and show a realistic journey of character growth. And even as I wanted to shake Liam, I kept right on reading, dying to know what would happen next. Leicht brings the book to a nice conclusion, though with plenty of room for more books to follow in the series (something I hope will happen one day!).
So if you like your fantasy dark, realistic, and full of flawed yet fascinating characters, you owe it to yourself: read these books!