So I pretty much feel the same way about this book as I did the first one: it is absolutely amazing. This is a great continuation of the series. The characters and plot are just as fascinating, a true feat given the length of both books and the trend for the sequel to never live up to the original. This book is a phenomenal read.
It has been almost a year since I read the first book, but the opening chapters do a good job of recapping previous important events without seeming repetitive and annoying. I think this book could be read as a stand alone, but would be best enjoyed having read the previous book.
I love the realistic characters, all of which show emotion as well as composure. I especially love the female characters. Nix and Lilah are both strong and powerful while still remaining human. I love the mix of independence and uncertainty as they face challenges throughout the book. The only thing I didn't like was the descriptors used to describe the female characters. They are usually described in ways that emphasize their attractiveness, along with other more important descriptors. The male characters are never described in terms of attractiveness so the double standard was just a bit unappealing to me. This may seem nitpicky, but hey, there has to be some criticism in this book that is otherwise absolutely perfect.
Equal parts action and heart-wrenching emotion, this book draws you in from page one. I cannot wait for read the next book and find out what happens next. I am glad the series is so extensive (five novels, prequels, and graphic novels), because I just cannot get enough.