A few years have passed since A Hymn Before Battle, and the mean Posleen are about to invade a woefully unprotected Earth. It's a great premise for a grand combat romp, as science fiction armies tread the battlefields of the American Civil War. The excesses of the first book (which gets mired in superhero power fantasy) are remedied here by a broader focus. But we have new excesses instead, including an entire subplot dedicated to getting two teenagers to sleep together amid the ruins. The moment she says "yes", Ringo loses interest and the subplot goes to sleep for hundreds of pages.