The further development of Daire's world and exploration of the prophecy both Daire and Dace are having nightmares about drives the story from beginning to end and made the novel hard to put down. Moral dilemmas, fun friends, and more info on Dace's side of the world were everywhere. There was even sex! I like sex in YA. There should be more. If only they could have it freely instead of being barred from it because it makes evil more powerful... Why can't sex be sex and not a tool of evil, especially one that creates a plot hole later in the novel?
The darker turn Daire and Dace's characters take over the course of the novel is fantastic. Though their relationship and love for one another, the driving force behind their changes, have no depth or realism, it's very easy to suspend disbelief and get caught up as both of them consider breaking all the rules in order to save the world and defeat Cade. Unfortunately, Daire's development is robbed of its momentum too quickly; killing Cade is initially against the rules and presents a moral dilemma, but her ancestor later okays it and the morality of killing him becomes null and void. Dace's, however, comes full circle and contributes to one hell of an ending.
The author's style is her style and I can't expect that to change just because a handful of readers would like it, but Noel's way of writing grates on me. Whether it's Dace or Daire narrating (this book is mostly told in dual POV; telling the narrators apart is effortless, thank goodness), em-dashes are abused/used incorrectly and sentence fragments are everywhere. Really, fragments are supposed to be used for emphasis, but Noel uses them so much that they lose all their power and simply become annoying. If her writing didn't have those problems, the novel would get a significantly higher rating from me.
There are also a few instances where sense seems to fly the coop completely. In the middle of a battle in which Daire is killing a bunch of undead Richters, she stops without warning or reason in the middle of it and lets them beat her up because she deserves it for failing at everything. Just as soon as that lapse happens, she gets up and goes right back to killing undead Richters. That detour wasn't necessary at all. I've also got a few small issues with the flat characterization of Dace's ex-girlfriend Phyre (though her quick piece at the end of the novel promises development).
I'll definitely stay around for Mystic, book three in the series. How can I not? It still makes very little sense after three rereads of the last thirty pages, but such a bloody ending earns some serious respect.
*Dual POV is done right for once; I can tell Dace and Daire apart in narration
*Characters are growing better
*Cade. 'nuff said.