3.5 While I overall enjoyed this book, I couldn't escape the gnawing feeling like there was just something missing here for me. Were my expectations perhaps too high? Maybe. Perhaps it was unfair to read this so soon after I finished the very excellent [b:The Eternity Cure|13581990|The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden, #2)|Julie Kagawa|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1362772965s/13581990.jpg|19167673]. The premise here is excellent and the first chapter had me shaking in terror. Unfortunately, that was the only real sense of danger I felt throughout the rest of the reading experience. There were some tense moments, sure, but I never felt as completely drawn into the world as I did in that first chapter. I overall really enjoyed the characters even though I didn't have as much of a connection with Tana as I would've prefered. That's most likely one of the things I think is "missing" for me. I'm not sure if it was the third person limited narrative or not (I've been on a long streak of first person lately), but the strong emotional connection just didn't forge. I did find her to be courageous and capable. There was just something...not there for me, though. I found Gavriel to be intriguing and appealing without being toobroody. He's also not the typical "I hate being a monster" nice guy vampire we often find in these sorts of stories. For me, he struck the right balance of being one of the "good guys" but very much still a cold, dead vampire. It was refreshing! The secondary characters were all delightful (except for the ones who clearly are not supposed to be). I did find the rogue-ish Aidan to be "exasperatingly endearing" just like the blurb promises. I was also easily fond of Tana's human friends in Coldtown, Jameson and Valentina. Can I tell you how much I love the fact that Valentina is a transwoman? Thank you for including trans* representation in your story, Ms. Black! It was really wonderful and refreshing to see and I commend you!There were also plenty of snarky moments like this:"Careful," Winter told his sister, nodding toward Aidan, who gave him a look of wide-eyed innocence in return, and then toward Gavriel, who was staring out into the darkness, thinking whatever thoughts blood-starved vampires who liked to quote Shakespeare had.Ha!The book alternates to other perspectives occasionally, some even in the past. While informative and important, some of these had me frustrated as I just wanted to get back to Tana's situation.The blurb might cause you to worry about a love triangle but rest assured that is not the case. There's actually hardly any romance at all. Much less than I prefer, honestly. But what we did get was hot. Moar please!! I was pretty satisfied with the ending as a standalone (the twist was great!!) but would definitely love to read more about Tana's adventures in Coldtown should there be a sequel.I guess my complaints come down to three things: at times I felt a little bored, I didn't connect as much as I wished with the MC, and I wished there was more romance. And those are all rather personal preferences. Overall, it was a rather enjoyable read that I'd recommend to any fans of vampires, urban fantasy and not a lotta romance.Final quote?She didn't want to explain the recklessness, the pleasure of making the bad choice, the glory of at least this once, picking her own path to damnation.Yesssssssss. Embrace the darkness, Tana!