The storytelling was fun, funny, thoughtful (what?!), and satisfying. While the ending was not what I expected, I discovered that I liked the ending better both for its unexpectedness and for its clarity. Most of the wrongs done to our hero were righted in appropriately shallow fashion. While our hero briefly joined Power of the Month Club, it was accomplished without departure from the various characters' base types, and that oddity was incorporated into the rest of the story in such a way that it almost went unremarked.
I give it seven out of eight flaming spider legs.
And I'm off to buy the sequel immediately.