I think I’m going to have to give this another reread. I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t seem to get into this book. I don’t hate it, but I didn’t completely love it either. And I really wanted to love it. Just…nothing was grabbing at me.I do like Emily as Our Protagonist. She could very easily have been the shrieking damsel, but she manages to hold her own against the bad guys. I like that even with the stone embedded in her hand, Emily’s not ridiculously overpowered, and she and Dreadnaught have to come up with solutions to get around the lack of magic issues. And I like that she actually takes responsibility for her actions and deals with the consequences of them. Emily does have fairly good reasons for wanting to marry Dag, but wants to be absolutely sure that he’ll be hers. It’s not ethical, but once she’s called out on it, Emily does stand up and tries to set things right. Also, she’s hilariously inept at disguises, which I loved.Dreadnaught Stanton (aside from his front-runner status for the best Awesome McCool name ever) didn’t really appeal to me. He’s…okay. There’s the whole deadpan snarker with a dark secret angle, but I didn’t really get anything new or different from Stanton as a character. He plays off of Emily well, but I didn’t see the chemistry between the two. And from what we do get of his backstory, I really wanted to delve more into that instead of “…Well, moving on!” Again, I don’t hate him, it’s just not doing anything for me.The plot’s a little cluttered. There’s a couple good twists and turns, but it does get to the point where I was mixing up exactly who was chasing Emily at moments. Sometimes it works, as Dreadnaught and Emily’s escape plans boil down to hightailing out of whatever location they’re in at the moment, but with the frequency it happens, we never get to catch our breaths. (I do like that Stanton has a Bank Bag of Holding which he promptly loses. It’s a nice little detail used for a joke.) Plus, plot threads get dropped so quickly—again, due to the aforementioned hightailing—but we never get the full weight of the plot or what it means for our heroes. And I never got a sense of the world we’re reading about either. Yes, there’s witches and warlocks and they’re integrated into society and there’s fringe groups attacking them, but I never really got the impact magic has on this society. The magical organizations feel more like gentlemen’s clubs, and I really wanted to see magic being actually integrated into everyday life, especially once the setting moved toward the Eastern US. There’s a lot of potential to work with here, but it doesn’t feel realized. (But more of Penelope Pendennis and the Witches’ Friendly Society, because she was awesome. I loved her.)My other issue with the book is the epilogue. I thought that the end with Emily proposing to Stanton was fine, and there’s enough dropped hints throughout the book to get me interested in the book. The epilogue just feels tacked on, as if the author wants to say “HEY REMEMBER ALL OF THIS STUFF WE’VE BEEN MENTIONING? LET ME TELL YOU ALL ABOUT IT.” The epilogue’s not really a great set-up to the next book, as it pretty much gives away all of the mystery surrounding Emily’s past and a very real threat that was treated as a joke. And that doesn’t really make me interested in reading the next book because I already know what’s going to happen. If it wasn’t for the epilogue, I would have really liked this book a lot more. It’s still a decent read, and does give an interesting at alternate US history. But I think there’s a lot of wasted potential, and the expositional epilogue really knocked down my enjoyment of this.