first of all, I am not one of those people who has previously bemoaned the direction the series has taken. I've been perfectly happy with the direction, and I've said over and over again that the whole thing flows much better if you go back and reread at least some of the books before the new one comes out. I mean, they're 1-2 years apart, you need to refresh.
sadly, this time I didn't have time to refresh, so that might have have some effect on my impression. I admit, for the first 200 pages I was kind of wondering if this would be the one where I dropped out of the series. HELLOOOO, plot, are you in there? if the conflict, crisis, climax, and denouement were all about the pregnancy, I'm sorry, but that is just pretty thin. LOL
I did appreciate the character development, but haven't we done this already? OK, we get it, Marmee Noir is waking up. Everyone and their brother has "issues." let's move on. I appreciated her getting a handle on the ardeur, at least a little, and the fact that she tried to cut herself off says she's just as tired as the rest of us. LOL I also have to say that I was pretty impressed with how she handled the pregnancy thing, because a baby in the series would just be jumping the shark entirely.
these are really my only major complaints:
1. the sex chapter with 17 orgasms in 12 pages. "He brought me again, and again, and again." I mean, REALLY. that was not hot. that was clunky. she can write better erotica than that (which she proved with the Asher scene.)
2. someone get the woman a thesaurus and show her how to find a synonym for "screaming" during sex. I'm sorry, but my mental picture of Anita in bed (especially re: #1 above) is Madeline Kahn in Young Frankenstein. she is steps away from singing.
3. RICHARD. can we say REHASH? they had the exact same argument half a dozen times, and it was the same one they had in the last book a dozen times. get over it already.
all in all, by the end I was at least mostly satisfied. but I'm taking my own advice and rereading the series starting today. DM had some parts that I thought were confusing/contradictory, but I think that's just because I only read CS once, and in that "omg new book in a series must read as fast as possible" way.