The main thing you must understand is that City of Golden Shadow is not a long book...it's a long beginning to a more than 3000 page book. Don't even think about picking it up unless you're willing to go all the way through it. At the end of the City of Golden Shadow, I was a little confused but still curious. By the middle of the next book, I was hooked. Williams is creating a HUGE world and taking his time doing it. I can only say that if you have the patience to fully explore Williams' creation, it is worth it.