First I have to say thanks to Netgalley and Random House Children's Books for letting me read the e-galley of this. Thinking back to the book, I had to go back and upgrade my rating from 3 to 4 stars. I have to say for some reason I liked this one a lot better than the first one. Not sure why. I did like the first one, but this one had me more on the edge of my seat and wanting to pick it back up when I had to put it down. While it is the "sequel" to Blood Magic, it doesn't really include the main characters from that book, Silla and Nick. They do factor in, and are part of the background story. And actually Silla's brother Reese who turned into crows in the last book, is a big part of the book. He has become Mab Prowd's familiar. He stays with her instead of staying with Silla, and helps her with her magic. The book starts off with Nick dropping off a young boy named Lukas who has a black candle rune carved into his back by his father, who we find out has cursed him and pulls on his magic. We also start with Mab trying to find out why the roses around the house were so hard to get rid of, yet her grandmother really wanted them gone. To find out more about them, Mab's spell creates a humunculus so that she can hopefully get it to talk about what is going on. This creature is able to escape from the protective circle and takes off running. It runs into Nick, and attacks him, so Nick has to destroy it with the help of his dogs. But it turns out Nick is now connected to Mab and will need Mab to help him figure out what is going on. Nick's life is not great to start with. One of his older brothers died about a year ago, and his family has been changed ever since. Again the diary entries/letters are mixed into the story. At first you don't quite understand what they really have to do with the story, other than they talk about Arthur, who was the Deacon of magic before he was ready to go join his wife and pass on the title of Deacon to Mab. We do learn about Mab's mother also. Soon as the story goes on, I began to try to figure out on my own the roses and the relationships between all these people in the past. It all gets a lot worse, right after it seems things are getting better, and has a lot of suspense at the end.I really liked the characters in this one. There was still a lot of blood, but it seemed less for shock, and more as a part of the story. There were sometimes at the beginning that it drug a little bit, but mostly the story kept me really involved and as I said, wanting to pick it back up when I had to put it down. Definitely a good, and pretty original story in my opinion.