For my thoughts on the first book in the series, please see here.
I held off on reading this right away after checking it out of the library. I did have other books to finish first but partially my reluctance came from a fear that the sequel would not live up to my expectations. This not a genre I read often and I rarely enjoy the ones I do read. So while I was anxious to read this...I was also anxious to not, if I ended up disliking it. Finally, however, I picked it up in the afternoon...and promptly disappeared from real life for several hours. I did manage to get supper done and to actually talk to my significant other...but it was a close thing. I simply could not put this book down.
The first book, with minor exceptions, dealt solely with events in Lakeside. We really got to know the Others in the Lakeside Courtyard as well as Meg, as she carved a place for herself in a world she'd long been denied. Now, however, we begin to see the wider world. We see examples of what happens when Others and humans don't work together. We learn of plots by humans to attack the Others...and just how ill-advised that might be. We learn more about the strange human pack coming together at Simon's Courtyard. And we finally learn some answers to questions we've had since the first book.
One of the great parts of this book was finally meeting Others from different cities and seeing how they are different from the ones we've come to know. Lakeside Courtyard is clearly unique and, I think, will be a place both humans and Others will look to in the future.
A lot goes on in this book and even when you think you've reached the end...you find the author managed to squeeze a few more scenes in. I won't say it's like the multiple ends of the Return of the King...but I'll admit the thought did cross my mind.
What I liked best about this was the relationship that is slowly building between Simon and Meg. They didn't just jump into the sack together after the last book, which was one of my biggest fears. The author actually deals with Meg's history and situation and doesn't ignore it when it's convenient for her to do so. I respect that, as it is so easy to do.
This novel made me like the series even more and I can't wait to see what Bishop has in store for us next. Sadly, we won't find out for almost a year. I can't wait to find out what the Shifters, Sanguinati (I love that name for vampires), and the rest - along with their Meg - have in store for us next.