I know I marked this book as "unfinished" and I had every intention of shelving it without reading the rest, but well... I never did like to leave books unfinished and I had two hours of free time because of my trip home, so...
It didn't get any better. Maybe I am just tired of Richelle Mead right now (I've just read the 6 Georgina Kincaid books all at once), but I couldn't seem to focus on this book. It gets the half star for the somewhat original world building, but the characters were flat and the plot... oh dear, the plot. It was contrived. Like many of Mead's characters, Eugenie the protagonist, was a Mary Sue kind of character. Unlike Georgina and even the Vampire Academy characters, however, she wasn't likable in the least. I felt like Mead took one of her characters (who are supposed to exhale charisma) and tried to add to much of Anita Blake's arrogance and pretend thoughness to her (note to author: if you want a strong female character, following in Laurell K. Hamilton's footsteps is NOT a good thing). Eugenie was whiny, mouthy but didn't seem to have enough brains to get herself out of the situations.
The story gave me the creeps, actually. Again, it just sounds too much like the plot of the Meredith Gentry series by Laurell K. Hamilton (which was ridiculous and so is this one) and, I mean, the plot being "lots-of-males-want-to-rape-the-heroine-and-somehow-there-is-a-reason" (I mean, WHAT???) is just not my thing. Ugh.
The other characters lacked development perhaps because they were only there to provide information and hot sex to Eugenie. There was Kiyo, the kitsune (sounds a lot more interesting than it is), the recipient of Eugenie's insta-love. However, the "chemistry" she is supposed to have with him? I just didn't see it. The romance felt so flat, Kiyo's character was equally flat (can we say walking stereotype here?). Dorian might just get interesting in later books (yes, I did buy books 2 and 3... *cries*).
The world building was almost nonexistent, as it is usual with Mead's books. She provides general information but she focus on the characters, in spite of her rather interesting world building ideas. I must confess I didn't actually mind the lack of world builing in the Georgina Kincaid series, because reading those was like watching a soap opera: the characters were endearing and charismatic and you wanted to know more. But in the Dark Swan series? Not so much. I disliked the characters so much that the fact that it had so little world building made the reading painful.
Overall, not a good book. The writing is decent and compelling and the world is interesting enough but the story is idiotic and the characters unlikable. Not recommended.