I finished Book 1 in The Velvet Book series anxiously awaiting Book 2. And I am happy to say that I enjoyed the second book even more than the first. Without sacrificing the action, the author in this book spends more time on the internals of the characters--what makes them tick. That was something I wanted to see in the second book, and I was not disappointed--though I would like even more. Snippets of Amy's difficult past are subtly woven into the narrative, making me think that we will learn more of her history. She is the most interesting of the four teenagers who are in the quest together: she is darker, sadder, more burdened with her past. And of course these are the very qualities that make her a natural leader and that will probably contribute to her success in the end. As in the first book, there is a good variety of characters, which will give the author a lot of choice in plotting, a lot of potential directions. I am willing to wait (though not too long!) for Book 3, as I hope to see even more character development. There was a good balance of character-driven moments and action sequences. The Phantom isn't overused. which is good. To me, a totally evil character isn't as interesting as a flawed character who's capable of making good decisions, but who often makes bad ones: Amy, Roger, Layla...everyone! (But even the Phantom seems to have come by his evil through events in his past, which will make him more compelling and even possibly sympathetic, a neat trick.) I really have enjoyed both books and am totally looking forward to the next.