The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves - I'm halfway through and I'm having a hard time ... I want to know what happens, but I don't care so much about the battle play-by-play as I do about the social/emotional plotline. Is skimming bad?