Soul Thief starts off directly after The Demon Trapper's Daughter left off, and with that said, the same feeling I had while reading the first book came back to me. But it was short lived. To say I'd expected so much for the sequel is the absolute truth. And yet, for me, it didn't deliver.
I think the pacing was the real problem. It didn't move fast enough for me, especially for a book set in a world full of demons and angels, and their captors and devotees. I keep feeling like a full-scale war, a big battle or something exciting and epic is looming closer, but still from a considerable distance. I enjoyed Soul Thief's predecessor, and made allowances for it's semi-slow pacing, because it was the starter book, the intro to the series. But in the sequel I expected more of a BAM! kind of deal. The search for Riley's dad was a bit tedious, in that she didn't explore any very intriguing avenues to locate him. The only aspect of her investigation that I found remotely interesting was being amongst the necromancers, but I came to find that they weren't nearly as exciting as I'd thought them to be. Since a good chunk of the book was consumed by the search for her father's corpse, I felt... bored. Where was the perilous action, the deadly fights against the hellish fiends everyone's so worked up about?
The fighting, especially toward the end of book one, was one of it's biggest appeals for me. That and Beck. And unsurprisingly, Beck and Riley's, I don't know, thing antagonized my already rising level of frustration with the book. In book one, the tension between the two was a good thing, even when Riley began seeing Simon (and don't even get me started on him), but during take two I just grew aggravated. Perhaps it's my innate impatience, that generally comes out while reading. But more likely it was the fact that their complex relationship was losing it's appeal... until the second half of the book.
Have I mentioned, yet, that my feelings for this book are also complex, like, immensely? One minute I was bored, the next faintly intrigued, leading up to engrossment, then down to frustration and annoyance, suspicion, concluding with a surprising eagerness for the sequel. My interest was piqued when, finally, a freakish demonic attack happens, the whole business with Ori and the reasons for his involvement with Riley are unveiled, and I got to learn some rather astonishing deets about the Prince of Hell and his role in the Good vs. Evil dilemma. Then when Riley and Ori's relationship turns toward the unexpected very quickly, the irritation came into play. Beck was no better, and I couldn't help but be angry at him for his reactions to some of the trouble that crops up toward the end.
By the end though, Jana managed to snag me again. To the point where I'm confused, edgy and restless to learn what's going to happen next, and that growing anticipation, that burning hope for what Beck and Riley could have, what--I'm hoping--they will have together has been rekindled somehow. And if I'm not mistaken, this is all boiling up to one gigantic, battle-tastic ending to the trilogy. I'm at the edge of my seat, and I'll be devastated if I'm even partially disappointed come the third book.