As I mentioned above, I liked this book better than the first. I think that was primarily because it was a faster read – the first book required a lot of setup for this new universe, and a lot of explanation, which kind of bogged the narrative down. This one moved quickly; you became aware early on of the problems (the reappearance of Circe, the Rakshanah's involvement in what is supposed to be Gemma's demise, her father's increasing dependence on Laudanum, etc.), and I had a really great time reading as Gemma tried to work through them all. The story of Nell was particularly heartbreaking, and, while Gemma ultimately had to destroy her, how that was what she really wanted so that she could finally be at peace. I knew that Miss McClethy surely wasn't the real Circe – too much pointed toward her, and what's in your face is usually not what you think it is – although I didn't think Circe was actually Miss Moore until almost the moment Gemma realized it herself.
But what I really liked about this book was Gemma's new love interest; I found Simon rather fascinating, and while I still hope she ultimately is able to be with Kartik, Simon was a nice addition. I wonder how much this will turn into one of those dreaded love triangles, though, because I am typically not all that fond of those. Kartik's betrayal of the Rakshanah (when he saved Gemma's life) is going to put him in a strange position, mostly because his life is no longer set out for him. He's going to have to make his own choices, and it seems like Gemma is going to need his help quite often, as I fear she's going to make some bad decisions (this feeling was intensified when I read the excerpt from the third book that was included in my copy of Rebel Angels. Also, Felicity still concerns me slightly – is she going to end up siding with Pippa, or is she going to follow Gemma? It will be interesting to see how everything turns out, although I don't know when I'll be able to find the time to read the third book with all the required reading I have to do for my classes this semester. Hmm. We shall see!