I loved Manny and Payne. I'm giving this 4*s mainly just for them. My biggest criticism is that I wish there had been more of them. It felt like they were sidelined in their own book. It would go chapters in between hearing from them. The rest of the book, meh, I'm not sure when they turned into the Emo Dagger Brotherhood but I've never seen so many guys crying, wringing their hands over their "one true love" and in general over-sharing their feelings. I miss the old wise-ass BDB, if I wanted an Oprah episode I'd watch it. The Bastards seem promising in that respect. The second half was much easier to take once the action started. The first half I found very easy to put down. So the strong ending and Manny & Payne themselves are the redeeming factors for me.