Courtesy of Smash Attack ReadsWOW! This was definitely an interesting book, and it took me for a bit of a surprise. It is dark, twisted and full of carnage, but it also beautiful, touching and full of hope. I really enjoyed the world that Phoenix has built (and it will no doubt continue to expand in subsequent books). The setting is great (New Orleans is always a kick ass setting for PNR/UF) and the plot is intense. It is thrilling, horrific and a tad romantic. These three things don't usually mesh well together, but Phoenix makes it work. The book is alluring, compelling, passionate, amusing, intense and dark. While I am still a bit lost on the character's abilities/backgrounds (i.e. Maker/Unmaker), I am enjoying her take on vampires, fallen angels and the like. I really enjoyed learning more about Dante and Heather, and I actually cared about them early on. Phoenix draws you into her character's inner being, allowing you to experience their emotional turmoil and happiness. I grieved right along with them, and smiled when they were happy. I was amazed at how realistic they felt! Heather was proactive, tough, loyal but a bit impulsive. Dante was protective, loyal and fierce but also melodramatic and "pigheaded." Heather believes in keeping her promises but knows that promises aren't always able to be kept. Dante doesn't lie, ever, and doesn't forgive those who lie to him, ever. Also, the two main characters aren't the only bright stars in this world. Lucien, Von, Simone, Trey, etc. were also very integral in this story. The connection between Dante and Lucien makes my heart hurt immensely.I found the chemistry between Dante and Heather profound, as they were drawn to one another on a much deeper scale. True to Urban Fantasy, there is only a touch of romance between them and their one sex scene is one of the best I've read in the genre. It happens 300+ pages in, so the sexual build up may have something to do with it, but my eyes were wide and my heart was palpitating. I also loved that weaving in any form of sexual activity into the book - ménage à trois, hetero sex, gay sex, etc - was not off limits and was second nature to the world. The evil SOB in this book was one hell of a creep. He made my skin crawl. I also felt a twinge of sadness for him though (that would be the social worker in me) since he did not ask for that existence. However, he was still the president of Sickos R' Us. Conclusion: This book gets a 4 out of 5 from me. It only gets 4 because it did not hook me, and I had to push through it a bit in the beginning. This was not due to boredom, but complete ignorance as to what Dante is - and this I am still not sure of! His past has been uncovered, but he is one mysterious creature. After things got rolling, I really enjoyed the plot. The social worker in me LOVED the ability to remain compassionate, fiercely protective and loyal despite horrific, painfully debilitating histories. I am a sucker for the tortured soul! I do wish I had book 2 in the series to read right away, but I guess I have to wait on it.