I'm not sure how to rate this book. Most of the book was a solid four or four and a half stars. But then came the end. And not even the end, really, which I enjoyed, but the epilogue
The problem with the epilogue is that it comes at the end of the book. That means it's the last thing you remember. And in this particular case, it's like sitting down to a delicious, gourmet, seven course meal and then being served Drain-O instead of post-dinner coffee. You're not going to remember the amazing dinner--you're going to remember the Drain-O. I'll come back to this in a spoiler tag below. Read at your own risk.
As this is paranormal romance instead of urban fantasy, the relationship--especially the physical relationship--between Vlad and Leila moves along at a fairly fast clip. I generally prefer the slow buildup typical in UF, because I think it more accurately reflects real life. But I've never been swept off my feet by a vampire, so who knows.
I liked Leila and was glad that she stood up to most of Vlad's shit. She kept her head under pressure and didn't make any TSTL decisions.
Vlad was good at being an arrogant ass, but not so much that I wanted Leila to leave him. I got just enough glimpses of him being nice (for him, at least) that I really thought he cared for Leila, which is a must for me.
So, the epilogue. First of all, I hate, hate, hate "cliffhangers" as a literary device. I think it's a cheap trick, and it makes me want to swear off the series instead of reading further. This is a personal preference, so not everyone will agree.
This is the start of a new series and ends need to be left untied, but I much preferred the ending of the book to the ending of the epilogue. In fact, I wish I hadn't read the epilogue, because it kind of ruined the rest of the book for me.
If you hate cliffhangers, stop at the end of the book and don't read the epilogue.
READ AT YOUR OWN RISK, EVEN MORE SPOILER-Y:
Vlad and Leila's relationship had been building nicely throughout the book. I didn't expect a passionate "I loooovvvveee you" from Vlad. However, we're left in the epilogue thinking that Vlad was using Leila the entire time and no longer wants her. She says something about fighting for him and the book ends.
Girl, if he really was using you this whole time and the loss of your powers made him decide you were no longer useful--run away. Quickly. You don't need that.
Argh. I know this is just setup for some conflict next book that will get worked out, but damn. Kind of made me meh about continuing the series, even though I really loved the rest of the book.
I guess after all of that I'm going to go with 3.5 stars
and round down. Without the epilogue it would've been 4 stars