Queen of Sorcery, David Eddings (x2)
Standing alone, felt like a bit of a filler compared to the other books, even though individual scenes are really good. So is the action. It just feels like those good parts are a little disconnected from the principle story arc.
I also actually felt put off by the deliberate racism, which is weird, because the races are fictional. Obviously the Murgo race is the "bad one", but it still feels extreme that those Murgos are killed without any particular judicial recourse. I mean it's not just a group of bad people like Deatheaters or something; it's a whole race with men, women and children. Indeed, we only see the men being killed, but there's something to think about there. Not sure I can think of another literary example where an entire race is considered evil. (Books written in the 1980's folks.)
All that said, this five-book series is really just one long book, so having one chapter more dedicated to set-up is not such a bad thing. Let's move on!