I was given a copy of the first book in this series, and loved it so much I came looking for this one as soon as I heard it out. The characters are consistent and interesting, and the world building is top-notch. The author has created a unique and consistent magic system which doesn't unbalance the rest of the society, which is no mean feat. I'm looking forward to the third book in the series, which I gather is in progress.
I bought this book on Friday, and finishing it has sucked up most of my weekend when I should have been doing more constructive things. I hated to put it down.
There are a lot of things I loved about this book. Both heroes are flawed, but likeable. I would love to see more of them, but the book doesn't leave any loose ends that make me think a sequel is in the works.
One major bonus for me was the magic - the author researched the magical background of both heroes in meticulous detail. It shows in the little offhand descriptions, but doesn't turn into a boring infodump.
The pacing was smooth, and kept the story moving without feeling that the author was trying to race through crisis after crisis to keep readers from putting the book down. There were plenty of crises, but all followed naturally from earlier events, and didn't feel contrived. The pacing of the romance was quite nice too - the sexual tension between the two men builds slowly but steadily, making the first sex scene explosive.
I was also impressed with the editing and overall quality of the prose. It flowed beautifully. It was never ornate, but I can't think of a single instance where I was jarred out of the story by an awkward phrase.
I've been looking forward to this book since I heard the author read an excerpt from it in May, and it was well worth the wait.
This was a real winner. I want more of these characters, now. I've been waiting for this one to come out since I read a pre-publication excerpt, and I was not disappointed when I got my hands on the whole thing.
It is part 1 of a series, and while it does present a satisfying wrap-up of the immediate problem, don't expect all the loose ends to be resolved at the end. There are very clearly hooks for subsequent stories, including an unidentified security leak in the government agency which employs one of the main characters.
Both main characters have very distinct internal voices which provide a sort of running monologue, keeping the reader involved in what they're thinking without being heavy-handed about telling you. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Starkweather tries to perform an exorcism of Gray, thinking he's a demon. Grey throws him completely off his stride with unintentionally snarky replies, and his growing realization that he's in way over his head is beautifully handled.