Missed the first book but still enthralling

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Even though I didn't read the first book, this story was still captivating. Just reading the summary was enough to give me at least a basic understanding of what happened in the first book. I do think the reader would have a better understanding if they read the previous book but I don't think it's completely necessary.

I found the main character, Emily, compelling. She's smart and determined without being hardheaded - which works well because Emily can mean "striving" or "eager". The only times I felt frustrated were only because I was sympathizing with Emily, not because of the plot itself.

I think the author does a fantastic job of showing the legal system - both its usefulness and its pitfalls. It seems like the author did a lot of research, or at least the prison parts felt very realistic.

Overall this was a good read and I would recommend it to others who enjoy this genre.