There's so much I liked about this book, but Soren almost ruined it for me.I had no problems with him being a priest--hell, that's the reason I decided to read this. And I was fine with his deep sadism. But as written Soren just does not fit in with the rest of the characters. Nora, Zachary, Wesley, and even the other characters that we only caught glimpses of all felt like real people. But Soren shows up and the story goes from rich and nuanced to ham fisted. What was obviously supposed to come across as mysterious and intriguing just made me roll my eyes. Soren knows everyone and everything, manipulates the people around him, and everyone just lets him. He goes on and on as if he knows some deep truth...that scene with Zachary where he pontificated about the meaning of pain was ridiculous. Dude, you like inflicting pain because it makes your dick hard. That's it. No need to justify it by pretending it's somehow a virtue. If the whole story was this darkly over the top tale, then Soren would have fit in just fine. But it wasn't, so Soren just stuck out like a sore thumb, and I was left frustrated that no one saw through his nonsense.