I think this entry is the most dramatic in the series thus-far. All the characters experience changes and have to grow in one way or another. Lena is no longer acting like an entitled little brat, learning to deal with the fact that Liv will always be a part of Ethan’s life, in one way or another. Liv has gone underground, spending most of her days in a study Macon set up for her in the tunnels, researching the supernatural events happening all over town. Ridley is trying to cope with life as a teenage girl at Jackson High and Link finds his newfound powers are good for more than just being a great basketball player and wooing the ladies. Ethan is just happy to have Lena back, but he is faced with much loss and many hard decisions.
I really liked the fact that we got to see Sarafine’s back story. As with the other novels, this one also contains flash backs, and Lena and Ethan witness Sarafine’s previous life, from her claiming until the day Lena’s father died. These scenes almost make the reader feel sympathy for Sarafine, but not enough to forgive her for the evil she has done, ultimately feeling the conflicting emotions that Lena, herself, is experiencing.
Amma has become more secretive and withdrawn. Her cooking isn’t as amazing as it used to be, she has been keeping things from Ethan that he should know, hiding out in her room, and delving into the darker side of voodoo. She has seen something in the cards that she will do anything to prevent from happening – including black magic.
John Breed actually gets a personality in this entry. He is no longer the annoying, girlfriend stealing, half-incubus. He actually seems to have a good heart and a desire to do the right thing – despite being raised by two evil incubi that want to destroy all mortals and casters alike. Ethan may hold a grudge, but Lena was equally as guilty, and there’s clearly more to John than there originally seemed.
I did have a good idea about the identity of “The One Who Is Two,” so that “twist” wasn’t much of a surprise to me. Also, I felt that the final fourth of the novel was a little inspired by the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It has an evil character named Angelus and requires a sacrifice to stop an impending apocalypse. I’m not saying it’s a rip-off, just that both things also existed in that season, and I found it amusing. Could Garcia and Stohl be fellow Buffy fans?
While this novel doesn’t have any scenes that really stand out in my mind, I am actually fine with that. I really liked that it dealt more with the relationships between the characters and less on major events, like fairs and dances. These relationships are the core of this story – Ethan’s love for Lena, for Amma, for his aunts and his friends – it all leads to an ending that makes me exclaim, “You can’t end it there!”