am 3. Mai 2014
Spoiler Alert for the previous books in the Chicagoland Vampires series! This is the ninth installment in a series with a strong overall story-arc, so there can't be a review without spoiling events happening in books 1 - 8. Besides, the books rely on each other story-wise and although Ms. Neill does a good job of a short recapture in each book, things make more sense, if the books are read in the correct order. In short: if you are new to the series, I recommend to stop reading here and start the series at book one "Some Girls bite".
Synopsis [by Goodreads.com]
Since Merit was turned into a vampire, and the protector of Chicago’s Cadogan House, it’s been a wild ride. She and Master vampire Ethan Sullivan have helped make Cadogan’s vampires the strongest in North America, and forged ties with paranormal folk of all breeds and creeds, living or dead…or both.
But now those alliances are about to be tested. A strange and twisted magic has ripped through the North American Central Pack, and Merit’s closest friends are caught in the crosshairs. Gabriel Keene, the Pack Apex, looks to Merit and Ethan for help. But who—or what—could possibly be powerful enough to out-magic a shifter?
Merit is about to go toe to toe, and cold steel to cold heart, to find out.
The last book ended with the announcement of the warrant the mayor had issued to take Ethan in custody for killing GP member Harold Monmonth. To evade that, Ethan and Merit use the Breckridges' family estate as a hideout, the Breckenridges being shifters and all, who still owe Merit and Cadogan House for the unfortunate blackmailing against them in one of the former books.
But nevertheless, Merit loathes leaving her still injured grandfather alone in the hospital and there is still unresolved business with the GP, who are sending a representative to propose compensation for Monmonth's death.
Of course, as in all of Merit's adventures, this is just the beginning of the ensuing havoc: a shifter party coming to a bad end, Lakshmi collecting her boon from Merit, the mayor crossing the lines and taking advantage of terrorist-accusations against the Houses and so on.
It's amazing, how many story strands Ms. Neill can tell simultaneously and then wrap them up so perfectly in the end. There is the case, Merit and Ethan have to solve in order to clear their names to the majority of the shifters and this time, I had not even the slightest clue for a long long time, what could possibly be going on. I was tense, read the book in one day, to finally get to know the solution.
But then there is also always that very intense and dark political background, the supernaturals and the vampires in particular have to face on a daily basis. The fact that an ignorant and totally predjudiced politician can wreak havoc for a whole group of people by her misuse of the [anti-terror-]laws, gives me the shivers and feels too freakingly real at the same time. So the series gets darker.
Yes, there still is Merit's snark and sarcasm and Luc's movie analogies, Jeff's overall geekdom and nerdness and of course Ethan and Merit being a pretty cool couple, but the tone of the stories is much bleaker than in the beginning of the series. But that is actually something I appreciate, since it makes the series stand out in the host of UF available today: it's undoubtedly UF and filling all the criteria, but at the same time, it's a lot about society and the treatment of people perceived different and therefore outsiders.
The already well thought-out world again gets even bigger and with each newly introduced people, more interesting. Again I appreciated that there is an inherent logic that won't be broken by magical aid, no Deus Ex Machina, but hard work and failing.
Merit is just glorious, she actually becomes a better person, lover, Sentinel, partner in each installment. The only thing I really don't like, is that I am told that Merit is a great warrior and time and again even is able to kick Ethan's a**, but in most fights she merely stumbles through it towards some lucky end. That was the case in the last book and is the same here. It just kind of bothers me.
But, minor complaints aside, this is again a great addition to the series and there are a few thrilling revelations that make me anticitpate the next books even more.