4.5 starsI loved this one, which makes it disconcerting how close I came to not reading it. I thought the first book was enjoyable, but it didn't wow me enough to inspire me to read more. But I was browsing my ereader last night, looking for something to read, and somehow chose this. I'm so glad I did! I definitely don't think you have to read the first book to enjoy this one. In fact, I might encourage people to read this first. I suspect the first one is more enjoyable after this one, as a sense of greater depth and background for characters you already love.And I love Nick and Luka. Separately and together. Nick's vulnerability and the ways he dealt with it were believable and heart-wrenching. I loved Luka's sense of his own worth and refusal to take any crap, even as he was also (understandably) insecure. This was an engrossing book, one I was eager to finish because I wanted to know what happened, even as I also wanted it to never end.