If it's one thing I like about Fay's books, is that while it's sometimes slow to occur, the female lead grows strong in and of herself. The only thing that kept me from giving this a solid 5 instead of 4.5 is that Cora, though much bolder and more brazen toward the end of this book than she is in the beginning, is still not where she should be.
For a woman who grew up on the streets and in gangs, she's a lot more naive and trusting than someone should be, having been in those situations. She's kind of like Forest Gump, except that bad things keep happening to her. She keeps getting taken advantage of due to her own naivete, albeit she does grow stronger b/c of those incidences.
I do hope by book 3 (as hinted at the end of this)she finally puts Knox in his place and knocks him down a few pegs - where he belongs. Since the unfortunate - and forced- bonding of her cell mate (when she's kidnapped and experimented on), the sought after Brayden - she learns that she 'owns' him and can compel him, yet she doesn't do this with Knox, or Mace for that matter. Her guilt over her sexual relationship with Brayden weighs on her, yet she can't get over how much Mace has kept information from her, clams up when asked questions, and has been spying on her more than was required for his mission. Not to mention she has yet to get him to confess who "Elizabeth" was. She might love him, but in all honesty Mace does not deserve her fidelity and I really hope in book 3 this is another thing Cora rectifies.
Cora does find out several things about herself that will hopefully change her for the better.
I enjoyed Saraphine, and love that she's strong in her own right. She's a solo witch, independent of coven and boyfriend, and knows that she isn't a lesser woman b/c of it. In fact, she's better.
The language of Fay's writing is more erotic than 99% of so called "erotica" books out there. It sucks to have to wait so long for book 3, but for readers with standards quality is better than quantity.