This reader's personal opinion, ©2018, all rights reserved, not to be quoted, clipped or used in any way by goodreads, Google Play, amazon.com or other commercial booksellers*
Overall, I liked it and will read on in series.
But it wasn't the "cozy paranormal" I was expecting. Yes, I'm glad the worldbuilding deepened and she learned more about her Sphinx heritage. But the humor was missing and her character definitely got grimmer. I really enjoyed the compassionate, responsible, intelligent and dedicated -- yet often klutzy and zany -- Sarah from Fright Court and Capitol Magic; this followup seemed to subdue some of the very aspects I enjoyed.
Take my rating and dissatisfaction with a grain of salt because I'm also extremely allergic to even potential love triangles. This book pretty much avoided the romance except in her conflicted inner thoughts crushing on two different guys and rearing up at the wrong moments. I could have done without the angst.
*©2018. All rights reserved except permission is granted to author or publisher (except Penumbra Publishing) to reprint/quote in whole or in part. I may also have cross-posted on Libib, LibraryThing, and other sites including retailers like kobo and Barnes and Noble. Posting on any site does not grant that site permission to share with any third parties or indicate release of copyright.
Ratings scale used in absence of a booklikes suggested rating scale:
★★★★★ = All Time Favorite
★★★★½ = Extraordinary Book. Really Loved It.
★★★★☆ = Loved It.
★★★½☆ = Really Liked.
★★★☆☆ = Liked.
★★½☆☆ = Liked parts; parts only okay. Would read more by author.
★★☆☆☆ = Average. Okay.
★½☆☆☆ = Disliked or meh? but kept reading in hopes would improve.
★☆☆☆☆ = Loathed It. Possibly DNF and a torturous read.
½☆☆☆☆ = So vile was a DNF or should have been. Cannot imagine anyone liking. (Might also be just an "uploaded" word spew or collection that should not be dignified by calling itself a "published book." If author is going batshit crazy in the blogosphere over reviews -- I now know why they are getting bad reviews. Or maybe author should take remedial classes for language written in until basic concepts like using sentences sink in. Is author even old enough to sign a publishing contract or do they need a legal guardian to sign for them?)