In most trilogies, the second book seems to serve as an expository bridge between the introduction to the world and the massive conclusion. And while there might be a grain of truth to this with Rebel Angels, the book does a good job of standing up for itself, which is a testament to Bray's storytelling abilities. Parts of this book subtly set up for events to happen in the third installment, but much of it is able to stand on its own feet (although I wouldn't recommend reading the second book before reading the first). One thing that really struck me in the reading of Rebel Angels is how easily this series could have been a female-centric Harry Potter...but how that was subverted. Certainly, parallels can be drawn, as they can be with most great works of fiction, but the books, again, stand on their own. And on the topic of things that were subverted, Libba Bray is a goddess for many things, but her subversion of the drawn out love triangle is one notable aspect of the story. It's there, but it's a background element and obviously so. It's rare that I enjoy the second book in a trilogy, but then, Libba Bray is certainly a one-of-a-kind writer.