We get filled in on a lot of what left me scratching my head in Nightshade, but I forgave because of the vibrant characters and racing plot. Though this makes for a bit of a slow start. I had a hard time remembering all the details from Nightshade, and it took me a bit to get back in the world when bombarded with new characters and lots of history. That said, she did a great job incorporating it, and it answered so many questions, and left room for more with the next book.
Shay really gets his chance to shine in this book, and to me, he really seems to come out on top. Now, a complete blindsight could come in Bloodrose, and put Ren seriously back in the running in my eyes in BR, but I guess we'll have to wait and see.
This book is heartbreaking, finding out what happens after Calla and Shay escape, and what those left behind are left to handle. The new characters also bring a rich texture to the story, and Connor especially kept me turning the page... For me, choosing between Ren and Shay has always mostly been for Calla, but I'll take Connor for myself :)