Read it in about two sittings - it was a real page-turner for me. And now I'm surprised by the vastly negative reviews on Amazon and such. I enjoyed the book and while I can think of stuff that could've been done better, there was nothing important that really stuck out at me while reading to ruin the experience. It didn't read like filler to me, either. It's an information-gathering story, sure - you know, the same thing the most exciting spy and conspiracy stories tend to center on - but I thought that was a given. They're facing demons and know next to nothing about them, from another dimension. It would have felt very bland and unrealistic to me if they had simply plunged into all the flashy fighting, instead.
The only thing I disliked were some writing style issues - both typos and misspellings and punctuation errors, which were the most disconcerting aspect, as I'm not used to seeing them outside of mediocre fanfiction. (There are times when I feel it might be deliberate, to convey a particular effect or impression of intonation, but it didn't work for me.) Then there was the extremely disconcerting literally copy-pasted description of Dahun in the first and last chapters. I'm not entirely sure what those four editors get paid for. Also, some of the writing devices were somewhat primitive and transparent, such as "Character X said blah blah blah and Character Y knew that Character X was thinking about Z", or the somewhat cartoony "I wonder how Character X is doing?" out of the blue, followed by a perspective switch to Character X.
Another detail that stuck out at me, content-wise... After they barely manage to escape a world with a volcanic eruption in time, Magnus makes the brilliant suggestion of sending scrying orbs or something through the portals in the future, before stepping in bodily. A fine suggestion, but looking
before you jump
isn't just something you'd expect a novice to know, it's common sense. Pug's been doing world-hopping for about two hundred years
and is supposed to have investigated lots of worlds by now. He should have been doing this all along, there's really no way around it. (Though they DO seem rather short on personal contingencies, such as those that would save one from having one's throat torn out by an ambushing demon...) However, given that the story would have turned out no different if they HAD sent a scrying ball through (and consequently seen that no eruption was happening just yet) before walking in, I'm willing to let that slide as a minor logic oversight.
That complaint aside, I think it fit well together. I've read complaints about a lack of taredhel and Tomas appearances and such, but that didn't bother me. For me, the theme of the book was set very clearly at the very beginning - the plot revolves around gathering information (which makes sense, given the mystical and disastrous events in the previous book). The Conclave got caught off guard, big time, and it was clear from the beginning that the point was to retreat, regroup, and rethink their strategy. It never occurred to me to expect a book thick with epic battles against demons or anything. After RaDL, now was clearly not the time to hack away without asking questions first.
I complained about the characterisation in RaDL. I found AtGoD a huge improvement. Subtle, showing and not telling, simple words and actions without needless narrative clogging them up, allowing the reader to interpret them at will. I didn't care for Sandreena or Jim in RaDL but feel that they've been really fleshed out here. Amirantha was likewise enjoyable to read about it. Magnus, sadly, remains very undefined, little more than a walking magic cannon and someone for Pug to emote over. A pity, since all he really needs is a couple of scenes focused on him to flesh him out. I don't think I remember any scene where we actually see Magnus on his own, interacting with other people or making decisions, rather than serving as a magical crutch to Pug. Something as simple as showing his conversation with the Quegan spy and his reactions to her advances, rather than being TOLD about it by Pug, would have done him wonders.
By contrast, the relationship between the taredhel brothers was established well and their personalities and distinct differences fleshed out more. I was worried at the beginning that the taredhel brothers would feel interchangeable, but a subtle yet definite dynamic established itself. Gulamendis emerged as the protective more cynical and pragmatic older brother sort, Laro as the roguish charming slightly naive and absent-minded younger brother who's willing to look to him for leadership and guidance. And they're both rascals. I've read someone say that their relationship is vaguely reminiscent of the old Jimmy/Locky one, and I agree.
The little trip of the taredhel brothers definitely did their characterisation a lot of good, and was a pleasant surprise, because I hadn't expected them see them in such a big predicament in their first appearance in this book and was thus hooked from the start. This part was the biggest page turner because they were completely on their own, with no way to expect support from anyone, and it was so easy to envision their adventure coming to a horrible and very sudden end. (Particularly after they DO nearly drown after stepping through a rift.)
Pug's luxurious infiltration of Queg was a nice contrast (with the brothers on a demon-infested world feeding off lizards and all). I also liked how it showcased his limits. On occasion he's been sliding into the boring invincible character territory, where one would think that he could get away with anything, but this drew a few lines. He may be one of the most powerful magicians but if he wants to just pop into the Quegan Imperial Library for an extended search for helpful information, he can't really take advantage of his magic without inevitably causing mass-scale problems with horrible political implications. For all his power, he's not above the laws of the workings of Midkemian society.
In general, I really liked that the book focused on this rather tightly-knit little group of ragtag heroes, rather than branching out to epic developments on the front of the eledhel, taredhel and humans. It gave it a sort of "fellowship" feel. And yes, it's essentially a story of solving mysteries and putting the pieces together (or even gathering the pieces first) rather than a standard fantasy epic, but that was perfectly enjoyable to me.