The first novel was intriguing. Although it was focused on a young protagonist it had darker elements that appealed to me. On one hand we had Alyssa with her entirely normal young wishes and desires going against an unknown that was far more dangerous then she knew. I wanted to see where Howard went with this..
The second installment was far more disappointing then i anticipated by being too juvenile for the sake of keeping the entire thing PG13. It simply doesn't work. You cannot try and sell an edgy of a dark fantasy to the readers in one moment, then simply turn around and unconvincingly blunt the edges whenever the situation calls for it, for the sake of keeping a virginal, fluffy heroine. You either aim for adult or young audience. Trying to be both at once just doesn't work.
One thing that does work though...the cover art. Simply love it.