I am happy to announce the re-read was as enjoyable as the first pass, if not more so. I had a much better feel for each of the characters the second time around, for one.
But I am still ... just-not-sure about the bond between Nightshade and Kaylin, or the one between Severn and Kaylin.
I find it odd that Kaylin never really objects to Nightshade's mark. Even when someone offers to remove it, she refuses. Is that her choice, or Nightshade influencing her through the mark? Or an influence inherent to the mark? Yet, her instincts are not something to ignore, rather more than would be so in a 'normal' person, so it could simply be those instincts.
Then there's her reaction to Nightshade himself. She says she doesn't trust him and doesn't even really like him, but she rather obviously doesn't dislike him, either. I saw precisely twice that she flinched where he was concerned: The first was the first time they were alone together after the mark was placed and once when he essentially snuck up on her. (and what do purple eyes meed to Barrani, anyway? One can theorize, but....) Hell, he gave her a very light kiss and she just kept on talking. The author didn't give us any indication of any adverse reaction.
When it's obvious talking to Nightshade would be a good idea, she doesn't really put up any resistance and even that could be easily chalked up to the portal into Castle Nightshade. But she never just wanders over, either.
But... there's NO mention of inter-racial relationships in any of the books.
So, the jury is still out on where that's going, if anywhere. And the why. And what the hell that mark means, and what Nightshade expects Kaylin to make it mean (he has explicitly stated he expects her to redefine it.
Then there's Severn. I rather like him, but let's face it: he's rather creepy, and I do mean in the stalker-creepy kind of way. The only mitigation is the fact that he's been her protector and support since she was five. There are some interactions that suggest that 'brotherly' is not what Severn feels, but if Kaylin is aware of that (or even reciprocates), the author hasn't bothered to tell us.
OH! The re-read brought one scene rather vividly into focus, but I either totally forgot it from the first read, or missed the seeming significance.
A dragon says 'I will kill you' and she responds "Yes. But not today."
Chances are vanishingly small that that is inconsequential. She didn't say 'perhaps', she said 'yes'. That's just really odd, and a little disconcerting.