This book is almost - almost - a Laurell K. Hamilton-esque book. Almost. There are many points, though, that just don't work.First off, Adrian's attitude is contradictory and completely illogical. He seems like he doesn't want anything to do with vampires, but still associated with Xander. I'd think that seeing him at the vamp club would have turned him off any sort of acquaintance with him. Also, for some reason, he keep turning back to Gabriel for EVERYTHING. He has a little problem, "Oh, I better call Gabriel."Of course, this is all ignoring the fact that the characterization is hazy at best. Adrian is snarky, but not jaded or cynical. He is absolutely devoted to the need to help the spirits, but at the same time treats them with a sort of casual cruelty (there's a lot of objectification going on).The juice thing was just tacky. I remember reading about him needing to just go home and drink juice and thinking "wtf? what does the juice have to do with anything?" It was a really badly worked Chekhov's gun.Gabriel's characterization is also weird. I mean, shit happens, but his only goal seems to be to get Adrian as his ghoul. Which he accomplishes by subterfuge. And then he just feels free to let Adrian wander around doing whatever because he "wants him to come to him on his own" or w/e mumbo-jumbo the author pulled.I think I was ready to bang my head against the table when Kyle appeared. Yes, let's inexplicably give Adrian a cat. But wait. Not just a cat. Let's make him a tiger shifter, but treat him as if he really were just an animal. Okay, maybe Carmichael's weres are animals that can take human form as opposed to humans that can take animal form, but it just seemed weirdly dehumanizing (because it was).I started getting used to the stupidity and randomness of the after a while.And them more of them showed up O_O=_=The world seems oddly half-formed, in a Twilight kind of way, now that I think of it. It's like Anita Blake meets Twilight, but Twilight somehow managed to prevail (*cringes. How the hell does Anita Blake lose against Twilight?)But still, the very beginning part that kind of reminded me of a male Anita Blake was okay. The second star is awarded partly for that. The other part was because of Carmichael's thing with the formulas. It was an interesting idea, though there are some rather weird implications to that that weren't/maybe should have been explored.10/30 ETA:Actually, the entire book reads like a condensed version of Anita Blake rewritten with gay MCs. Sure, the mechanics are a little different and so are the names, but the ideas are all there. There's human servant/ghoul thing (I still think ghoul is a stupid name. Jussayin), the inexplicable love triangle/polygon (inta-vamp-pheremone w/e?) (at least in Anita Blake, the werewolf dude she started dating wasn't completely random...), the inexplicable weres, the random increases in power w/e, the dealing-with-dead-ppl jobs, yeah.Problem is, because it's condensed, there are also a lot of non sequiturs and random outcroppings of wtf. Also, everything in this one seems to always go back to sex one way or another. Even Nikolai, who seemed like maybe he just wanted to get to know Adrian all of a sudden started trying to jump him. Meh. I'd have to say, Adrian went pretty far into Mary-Sue-dom. Part of it is the Anita Blake redux compressed into 1 short book. That cut out a lot of the depth that would have made him less... inexplicably trite, something like that.Well, the dragon was rather cute, I guess...Oh, here's something else I was going to say.The last line was just stupid. Completely stupid, melodramatic, too much of a "poor little rich boy" kind of ring.