Wow. That ending. Seriously, it was intense. I wanna read the second book now!
Okay, let's try to make this more understandable.
I liked the main character. Normally I don't like main characters. They are often whiny, ego centrical girls with a tendency to blame others for everything, or for falling in love with no reason and only in a matter of days (if not minutes). They tend to be right all of the time, because the author wants them to be right and they tend to be stupid and irritating most of the time.
But not Renée. Sure, at times she was whiny. At times she bitched way too much and jumped to conclusions. At times the answer was dancing samba in front of her and she didn't react to it. But most of the time she was fresh and I understood her actions. She was whiny, but she had every right to be. She had just lost both of her parents, found them murdered, even though everybody keeps on telling her they died of natural causes, and her grandfather who she haven't seen for years is her legal guardian. Her world is falling apart, he wants her to leave her friends, everything she knows. So she was a right to be whiny. And she doesn't keep on being whiny. She is determined and she takes matter into her own hands. She is brave and she doesn't take no for an answer. And she has a realistic reaction to the supernatural thing (which I will not spoil) in the book. All in all, I liked her.
And then there's Dante. The only thing that irritated me about him was how Renée couldn't stop telling him how perfect he was. And how he is indeed rude in the beginning. But otherwise I liked him. He wasn't perfect and some of the things he did I thought to be stupid, but all in all he was an okay love interest.
Put those two together, and you get the romance in this book. It was nice that there actually were other things beside the romance. It made me enjoy it a lot more, than if it had been THE main plot. Of cause it is still a main theme, but it is not the only one. The romance... well, in the beginning I thought it was weird. Renée didn't seem to really like Dante for whom he was, but for... well, being perfect. But slowly I think it evolved into something bigger and much more realistic. I liked the idea behind their romance and I liked how it wasn't stuffy. It was only in the beginning that I felt it was a bit unrealistic, otherwise I found it cute, most of the time.
The other main theme - who killed Renée's parents - came nicely along. Renée discovered things at a natural pace. It wasn't like that in a week she had all the answers, no. She had to dug after them, do things that was strictly forbidden and fight for them. Small hits are dropped everywhere about how it all fits, and the reader was able to guess along with the characters. I found out way before Renée what was going on, but again, sometimes she doesn't see things dancing samba in front of her. But otherwise - a lot of interesting facts are being used, and Woon really plays with names. I looked up most people's names, to see where they came from, including Goodfried, and it was actually really interesting. There were tons of hints, tons of important notes and tons of symbols throughout the whole book. God how I loved that. There were a lot of plot twists, most of them quite predictable, some of them, like the thing with Nathaniel - which, by the way, I still want to know what is - were unpredictable to me, and came as a chock. The end held a nice plot twist, and all in all, I felt that this book delivered more than what I expected. It was slow to begin, though, but as soon as it really began I had a hard time putting it down. It was all just too interesting.