Oh, how wrong I was.
From the very beginning, Bray had me immersed in 1920's Manhattan: Speakeasys, gangsters, gorgeous flapper girls with shingled bobs - the writing was beautifully evocative of the time.
I will admit to not particularly liking the main character Evie, which is something that usually puts me right off any book but in this case it didn't, and by the end I had almost grown fond of her.
Theta was hands down the best character in the book. Sassy and beautiful in most YA fiction usually doesn't go hand in hand, and if it does the author will vilify and/or victimise the character for it. Here, her beauty was made clear but it was not her defining feature, nor was she made out to be mean or petty for it. Refreshing.
Some of the plot was a bit convoluted, and a lot of the book seemed to be setting up the sequel - again, something I usually hate but here I didn't mind. I do think that some of the creeping menace of Gemma Doyle's narration would not have gone amiss. There were creepy points and scary parts but it didn't have that lingering darkness that I noticed in Bray's first person narrations. Maybe it simply wouldn't have worked against the 20's backdrop, but it would have been nice to see a little of.
It's not perfect, it's not "great literature" but it is fun and interesting and a little scary, hard to put down and I will certainly read the second as soon as it comes out.