I'm actually really surprised by my rating for this one. I enjoyed it quite a bit, despite - or possibly because of - Mencheres being one of my least favorite characters from the NH series. I didn't really cut him any slack here; hot sex or no, I wanted a decent story...and there WAS hot sex. My goodness, it made Spade and Denise from the last NHW book look like they were awkward gropey teens... and that's just not sexy at all.
Mencheres... well... I may not give up my preference for Bones... but one could do a lot worse than to read about Menchere's naughties. He's GOOD at them.
And on top of that, I actually came to kinda like him toward the end. I realize now that what I didn't like about him before was his monotone aloofness. He's the all-knowing, wise, father-figure who shows up to provide strength, but doesn't really do much else but brood a lot. And for a goodish chunk of this book, he continued on that road... but Kira brought out a new side of him... a lighter side. And I LIKED it. I like seeing Mencheres laugh and tease and enjoy himself.
And I liked that there was no fucking instalove. YYYYYAAAAAAAYYYY!!!!
Kira and Mencheres didn't just see each other and fall head over heels in lust-I-mean-love - they actually formed a kind of relationship and interest in each other before that. There was a progression of attraction and liking and interest! It actually took me a while to recognize why I was feeling like this was just a better book than FDOC - but toward the end, around the time that Kira realized the significance of the situation in which she met Mencheres, I realized that there's just been this growing connection between them that actually consisted of something more than just saying that there was one.
They have things in common. They have similar pasts (though, admittedly, one's is much more vast than the other's), and similar betrayal experiences, and similar consciousness of the powerless people who could be hurt by their actions... or inaction. There's a base of commonality that their relationship stood on, and I really liked that a lot.
Kira, also, was no moronic girl who couldn't be trusted to tie her own shoes without a man guiding her. I liked her a LOT. She has personality, and spunk, and her own will and damn the consequences. And when those consequences actually bite her in the ass, she doesn't back down or run away or whine or cry about it, but stands her ground and holds her head up, because she is willing to take the responsibility for herself. So good.
I do feel like I would have liked more closure with Tina though - just a quick follow-up meeting with her after everything, to meet the boyfriend as promised. See how she's coping with her new knowledge and family and whatnot.
And I do feel like the resolution was just a little rushed - but still enjoyable.
Definitely much better than I expected for this one to be, and I'd recommend this one over First Drop of Crimson any day.