There is a line in this book where the villain is talking about his inadequate minions, and he says "It's like a bad comic book!"
And this sums it up perfectly. Based on that line, I think
it's intentional. I certainly hope so.
But basically: All books in the paranormal romance genre, or the broader fantasy genre, require a certain amount of suspension of disbelief. A certain amount of willingness to accept things that cannot happen in real life, and to just go along for the ride.
But this series takes it a little bit further than that. These books do resemble a hokey superhero movie more than most PNR does. After reading the first book, I admired Ione's imaginative world and all the different creatures she came up with to fill it. This time around, I was more likely to roll my eyes. And her villain really does sound and act like a bad comic book villain. (His ultimate goal will make you say "What? Really??" and maybe "Ew.") Now, if you assume this over the top cheesiness is intentional and go along with it, it's kind of fun, but if you're expecting something more gritty and realistic you'll be disappointed.
Like the previous book, the plot is a little too twisty turvy, and I never really felt all that invested in the hero/heroine. I just didn't care all that much. In general, it was an adequately enjoyable story, but I didn't ever feel drawn in the way I want to be - at least not by the main couple.
There were two things in particular that did just bug me, though:
1. As with any romance, there are obstacles. One of the things standing between Shade and Runa is a curse. I won't say anything more about that so as not to spoil anything, but Shade kept the curse a secret for the whole book. He never told Runa, and there was never any explanation why, really. Wouldn't telling her about it have made things much easier? Grr. If you're going to have major obstacles to the romance, you need to make sure they're well explained and plausible. It can't just be there to be there. That drives me crazy. (It's kind of like the whole Lord of the Rings thing - "Why didn't the eagles just fly Frodo to Mordor in the first place?" "Shhhhh. You're not supposed to ask that.")
2. There is a very mild BDSM element to this book. Now, if you're turned off by BDSM, you'll probably still be okay with this book. If you like BDSM, you may be bugged by it like I was. I really did not like the way she handled it. She treated it like it was this really dark, dirty, shameful thing and I really didn't like that. I really felt like she was trying to make it seem like this really depraved thing that anyone in their right mind would be completely turned off by. Anyone who actually likes that kind of thing has something seriously wrong with them. Well, that's not true and I did not like it.
Now to the redeeming quality of the book: while I never have really bonded with the H/H in either of the books so far, I have totally fallen in love with Gem and Kynan. This is a romantic subplot that is actually compelling, and luckily we get plenty more of it in this book. Gem and Ky are why I keep reading. So if you liked them in the book 1 as much as I did, you won't be disappointed with this one. Love them!