Author: Chloe Neill
Publisher: NAL Trade
Blurb (GR): Times are hard for newly minted vampire Merit. Ever since shapeshifters announced their presence to the world, humans have been rallying against supernaturals--and they're camping outside of Cadogan House with protest signs that could turn to pitchforks at any moment. Inside its doors, things between Merit and her Master, green-eyed heartbreaker Ethan Sullivan are ... tense. But then the mayor of Chicago calls Merit and Ethan to a clandestine meeting and tells them about a violent vamp attack that has left three women missing. His message is simple: get your House in order. Or else.
Merit needs to get to the bottom of this crime, but it doesn't help that she can't tell who's on her side. So she secretly calls in a favor from someone who's tall, dark, and part of underground vamp group that may have some deep intel on the attack. Merit soon finds herself in the heady, dark heart of Chicago's supernatural society--a world full of vampires who seem too ready to fulfill the protesting human's worst fears, and a place where she'll learn that you can't be a vampire without getting a little blood on your hands...
Holy curveball, Batman! As I was nearing the end of this book, I kept thinking, “Oh, I totally know what the crazy jawdropper at the end of this book is going to be. Come on people, duhhh” as I paged through the windup. NOPE, it turns out this book just wiped that smug look off my face. I will put spoilers in this review where spoilers are due but LISTEN UP, COMPULSIVE SPOILER CLICKERS/READERS!! If you click on the spoilers and intend to read this book, you might as well get a Flannery-shaped voodoo doll so you can stick it with pins because I will have totally ruined your reading experience. You heard it here first.
So anyway, if you have been following this series, you might want to reread Twice Bitten before reading this one. There is a rather large cast of characters in this series and while I remembered the names for the most part, I couldn’t completely remember everyone’s history and their personalities…of course, that could have something to do with me frantically reading all three published books in two days around Christmastime. Either way, I bet your enjoyment would be greatly increased if you didn’t have the memory jogging to do. As it is, this book picks up almost directly after the ending of its predecessor. (obviously I can’t recount that ending as it is a huge spoiler)
The writing is consistent with other installments of the series, which is pretty refreshing considering how other series I read have been increasingly disappointing or just feel like filler. While they all have airs of political feuds in them, the theme is much more present in this one and I wasn’t the hugest fan. I mean, let’s be honest here. Are we in the cone of silence? Okay, we all know one of the biggest, if not THE biggest reason we read series like this is for all the hot guys and *fingers crossed* sexy times. I’ll read about power struggles or solving mysteries but for a series like this one, I’m always hoping for some hotness. Aaaaand , this one is sadly light on it. As it is on Mallory and Catcher, whom I’ve come to really enjoy. I felt like their storyline was rather unnecessary to the overall book and it felt like they were there only to provide readers the reminder that they are, in fact, huge characters in the series. Did anyone else feel this way? Maybe it was just me. It was just too much power struggle and not enough fun, friendships, romance, etc. There was ass-kicking, though, which is always great.
I am rather embarrassingly in love with the idea of vampire Houses and the whole fraternity/sorority feel of all the different Chicagoland (and otherwise) groups of vampires. While reading, I daydream about what kind of house would be the coolest to be a part of—then I push up my metaphorical nerd glasses and wonder how it is I even have any friends:) Anyway, other books in the series gave us an understanding of the Cadogan (obviously) and Navarre houses, but this one lets us in on Grey House and I have to say, it sounds pretty choice. I’d definitely want to be hanging out with them in their sweet pad.
And then come my annoyances:
You know that love interest? That guy you’ve been rooting for for several books? The one who has super sexy awesomeness with Merit in the last book? Well, Chloe Neill brings him out of nowhere into a fight in the last 10 pages and then stakes him a few sentences later. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT? I’m not going to say I’m annoyed that he was killed—it’s okay with me. I’m excited to see where the series will go from here--I’m just a bit disappointed at the execution and how much was done in the last 15 or so pages. And speaking of that, her dad is such an asshole! As is Darius. I wish characters had less of that stuff, what do you call them? Oh, morals. I wish someone would’ve just staked that bastard and Celina from the get-go. Jeez, where are the vigilantes when you need them? ;-) Also, Morgan is hot but a douche, and Jonah’s room sounds awesome. I’d hit that.
All in all, I still really enjoyed this one. Fun times in Chicagoland!