For the most part, I truly enjoyed the second installment in this book and the philosophical ideas that are addressed concerning the roll that women have always been placed in throughout history, to thoughts on abortion, homosexuality, morality, Christianity and the idea of forgiveness and acceptance in the Colony. The process through which Kate continues to lead and guide the Colony is extremely interesting as she struggles with new personalities; other vampires who have come to join them from the Basque establishment in Europe and elsewhere.
Eleder is a compelling individual who, right from the beginning, has an extremely emotional response to Kate's presence. It is obvious to the reader that he feels something for her and will eventually grow to love her, but it is not obvious to Kate who isn't driven by those kinds of physical urges or attractions, something that is lightly addressed in the book, but never really delved into. I'm assuming Kate and Eleder's story of love will unfold in the third book. Their many confrontations in this book are so engrossing to read because Kate is every bit the same in her actions and responses to circumstances around her. She doesn't allow Eleder's aggressive and domineering attitude to sway her in running the Colony exactly how she wishes to. I loved her for that. I'm also still wondering about Vlad and if he will make another appearance or try to kidnap Kate again. The emotions that do beset Kate are ones of compassion and drive to help all vampires find a safe haven in the Colony. Her ability or rather her curse of feeling any pain a vampire is feeling adds to her empathy and her own vulnerability.
The many scientific reasons for why and how vampires turn, and the reasons for Kate's abilities for seeing a vampire's potential, sensing them from a distance and feeling their pain are never disclosed, though I hope that will be delved into more in the third book. I think the only thing that was a bit difficult to get used to were all of the different characters who were introduced into the narrative through their own points of view. It was hard to follow the thread sometimes because I had to regroup with each new chapter and try to get a feel for the new character or it would take a few paragraphs to realize that I was reading the book through Kate's perspective again. Super confusing. I think a few of the characters' histories didn't need to be delved into with so much detail. There were obviously important aspects of their histories that furthered the plot, but honestly, with Sister Bryndis' history, about half of that could have been cut and molded to reveal all that was necessary about her as it applied to the book. The extra just deterred from the plot and slowed the whole narrative down even though it was full of historical tidbits that were interesting. During Bryndis' long narrative, I kept wondering when it would be over so that we could get back to the story at hand. I missed seeing and experiencing the narrative through Kate's point of view, which I feel should have been in the narrative much more frequently. A lot of new characters that the reader has to get used to with a lot of different voices. Probably would have been better to introduce a few of them through Kate's perspective.
As a whole, I enjoyed this second installment and look forward to reading the next book in the series, especially because of Kate's dangerous decision at the end and the questions left unanswered concerning her next adventure. I can't wait to have some more questions answered on that front.
I gave it four cherry blossoms!