I just didn't feel like there was enough between Varen and Isobel to warrant her willingness to sacrifice herself (in any aspect). I know everyone loves Varen, but this is one of the few books where I disliked the main male character more than the female... and I didn't like Isobel all that much. I never felt
anything between them but tension. And all I was told
was how attracted Isobel was towards Varen, but nothing ever from the other side. As far as I know (other than the few snippets other [possibly prejudiced] characters made), Varen didn't really see Isobel as anything until the very end, when things were beginning to escalate to a point beyond what their relationship should have allowed. It felt abrupt to me.
The first half of the book's teenaged pranks and lingo felt contrived and unnatural--which may be redundant considering the paranormal aspect, but since those pages are meant to represent "normal", I believe it fell short. Also, her father's attitude towards her towards Brad (?!) felt unnatural. I'm sure there's some parents out there who would take the side of someone else other than their child, but I wouldn't, and especially if it was my teen daughter, I would wonder very seriously why the sudden change in attitude towards someone she'd been dating for awhile. Granted, her parents were in the dark about most of it, but as a parent you see the way your child acts and know what's normal and what's not. Her dad became someone I could not respect after that episode. And definitely someone I disliked after the Varen episode. Maybe I'm living in a dream world when I expect parents to act like adults and not high schoolers.