A vampire never gets old. But neither do his enemies. When a figure from Ethan's dark past makes a splashy debut in Chicago, Merit and her Master don't know whether he's friend or foe. But they'll have to figure out soon, because trouble is brewing in the Windy City.
At an exclusive society soiree attended by the upper echelons of the human and supernatural worlds, Merit and Ethan barely stop the assassination of a guest. When the target turns out to be a shady businessman with a criminal edge, Merit suspects a human vendetta. But the assassins have fangs....
The connections to Chicago's Houses go deeper than Merit knows, and even one wrong move could be her last....
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Expected publication: March 3rd 2015 by NAL
*** I received this ARC copy from PENGUIN GROUP Berkley, NAL / Signet Romance, DAW via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***
It’s no secret that I absolutely love the Chicagoland Vampire series and have since I first spied and picked up Some Girls Bite many moons ago. I’ve loved watching as Merit gets more comfortable in her vampiric skin and witnessing how not only she has grown as a character, but those closest to her as they all face and conquer the issues that they always seem to find themselves in, even when the issues aren't theirs. Now, with Dark Debt, the eleventh book in the series, not only do we get a new story arc with a brand new antagonist at the helm hell-bent on causing problems for Merit and company, but we also get to see some past issues finally come full circle.
At the end of Blood Games, Balthasar, Ethan’s sire , makes it known to Ethan that he is not only NOT dead but in Chicago and in Dark Debt wastes no time in showing himself to not only Ethan, but the entire world. Needless to say this causes quite the cluster, not just with Ethan but with Merit as well, and soon everyone is on the hunt to find out what he is up to and just how he could be alive. Then, because Methan don’t have enough on their plate, they stop an assassination and find themselves on the doorstep of Navarre House and dealing with Morgan Greer. The twists and turns that these storylines took were done very well, which isn’t a surprise since Ms. Neill has never failed to serve up a good story, and even I was surprised at the end at what was really going on.
While the gang is busy trying to get to the bottom of the mysteries at hand we get to see just how far they have all come since we first met them eleven books ago ( one year in series time). Merit has become more comfortable, not only as a vampire, but as a Sentinel and while she has never been a flighty type of girl, I got the sense that she is much more grounded and truly confident in herself. Does she get thrown a loop in this book? Yes, but she deals with it head on and that is something that I’ve always liked about her. She may not like what is going on, but she’ll do what she can to make it work. Ethan, who I will admit I wasn’t all that fond of in the beginning, is amazing in this one. He is still Master of the house and alpha in all the ways that count, but we get to see, for lack of a better word, a softer side to him that gave me some ‘Awwww’ moments. And the solidarity in Methan’s relationship that was seen in Lucky Break is still very much the same in Dark Debt. Merit and Ethan are much more comfortable with each other, as a couple and as Master and Sentinel. Do they always agree? No. Do issues arise? Yes. But any lingering doubts about their relationship are gone.
With Merit and Ethan’s own relationship growing and strengthening is the relationship between all those in Merit’s life, well, most. Catcher and Malory’s relationship is strong and Malory and Merit’s relationship is getting back to where it was when we first met the besties. Jeff is at his uber-techie geek best. Chuck, is well Chuck, and I’d love to have that man as my grandpa, or at least great uncle twice removed. Luc and Lindsey are in a good place, and Luc still delivers all those movie lines we know and love. And then there is Malik. In the previous books he’s always been around, but in something of the shadows, not unusual considering what a force Ethan is, but in this one we get to see another aspect of Malik and I loved it. I hope this is a new trend and we get to see more of the Second. But what I really loved was seeing the ease at which they now interact with each other. In the past when they’ve all teamed up, they’ve worked well together but there was an unease at times because trust is a hard thing to come by, but in this one it’s like they’ve gotten past that hurdle and the bantering between all of them had me laughing outloud. As for the others that come into play, Morgan, Jonah, Helen and everyone’s favorite Mr. Merit, they all get their time and some things come about that even I didn’t see coming.
This was a fun one to read. So much happens that it’s really hard to get it all out without giving into posting spoilers, so all I can say is that this is a must read.
Can’t wait to see what comes next for the Chicagoland Vampire gang!
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