I'm not sure how but somehow Johnson manages to throw in more main and side characters than I usually like and do it gracefully. I don't find myself getting confused, having to try to keep track of this or that one, etc.
Johnson does tell a bit of background but take my advice - don't read these out of order. You'd be able too, probably, but you'll be much happier going the way they're written.
I didn't care too much for the no end ending - I hate when a book leaves off in such a manner - but I have to admit that now I'm looking forward to the next one.
The man can definitely write his ass off. I think the only books I've read so far are the three in this series but I'll most definitely be reading others in the coming years.