Book Review: Chloe Neill’s Dark Debt

Posted July 13, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Young Adult readers

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Chloe Neill’s Dark DebtDark Debt by Chloe Neill
This urban fantasy is a paperback edition was published by NAL Trade on March 3, 2015 and has 368 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

three-half-stars

Other books by this author include Some Girls Bite, Friday Night Bites, Twice Bitten, Hard Bitten, Firespell, Hexbound, Drink Deep, Charmfall, Biting Cold, House Rules, Biting Bad, Kicking It, Blood Games, The Veil, Midnight Marked, The Sight, Blade Bound

Eleventh in the Chicagoland Vampires urban fantasy series for young adults and revolving around Merit, the Cadogan Sentinel.

My Take

Whoa, Merit discovers she’s suddenly susceptible to glamour, and she is not liking it one bit. And Ethan, lol, learns the nickname bestowed on him by Merit and Mallory.

Neill pops in reminders of what has occurred in past stories, including Mallory’s trying to make Ethan into her familiar, the takedown of the GP, AND the reason why Joshua paid vampires to turn Merit.

Wow, Neill sure does keep the jerks on call, from Merit’s blinkered father to the callous Reed.

Yeah, that’s always the way…waxing nostalgic about the good old days, but realizing that every day, every age has its good and bad.

There’s a focus on Navarre House and its major problem along with an ongoing assessment of Morgan’s suitability to be its Master. But nobody could be as bad as Celina had been. Jesus. How blind were those idiot vampires in Navarre?

For such a “brilliant” organization, once Merit and company become aware of it, they uncover quite a bit. Although, the Circle doesn’t hold the patent on stupid moves, not when Ethan can’t wait to provoke Reed. How dumb is that? Why put him on alert?

I do keep enjoying Neill’s take on vampires, I just wish her stories had more depth and less of a juvenile quality. As for the sex scenes…they read more like Neill’s publisher suggested she toss some in.

The Story

Merit, Ethan, and the House are on tenterhooks, waiting for the next challenge from Balthasar, Ethan’s depraved, returned-from-the-dead maker.

There will not be one challenge, there will be many, and Balthasar is enthusiastically embracing his evil side as he breaks every taboo in public.

Nor is Balthasar Merit’s only worry, for Navarre House is deep in trouble while Mallory lays another worry onto Merit’s shoulders, and it’s so far from what Mallory has always wanted…

The Characters

Merit is the Sentinel of Cadogan House. Moneypenny is Merit’s beloved vintage Mercedes convertible she’s been banned from driving. The arrogant Joshua Merit is Merit’s kingpin father whose Merit Properties current project is the Towerline. Caroline had been Merit’s older sister who died in a car crash.

Cadogan House is…
…one of three remaining vampire houses in Chicago. Ethan “Darth” Sullivan is the Master, Merit’s lover, and a member of the Assembly of American Masters. Malik is Ethan’s second-in-command; he’s married to Aaliyah. Luc is head of security. Lindsey is Luc’s girlfriend and a House guard along with Juliet, Kelley, and Brody who has some mad driving skills. Keiji is a temp. Margot is the House chef. Helen is the House den mother and now Ethan’s official social secretary. The Librarian is the House research and book specialist.

Mallory Carmichael is Merit’s best friend and a sorceress who went really bad a few stories back. Part of her remuneration for her actions was organizing Sorcerers Without Borders (SWOB), which is meant to help new sorcerers learn to use their new magicks. Catcher Bell is a sorcerer and Mallory’s boyfriend. He’s also one of the Ombuddies with…

The Ombudsman’s Office, which is…
…the official police liaison between Chicago’s cops and supernaturals. Chuck Merit is the ombudsman and Merit’s grandfather. Jeff Christopher is a shape-shifting white tiger and computer genius. Detective Arthur Jacobs with the Chicago PD is friendly to supernaturals.

Navarre House is…
…currently led by Morgan Greer who took over from the corrupt and evil Celina Desaulniers. Will is the captain of the Navarre House guards; Zane is one of the guards. Nadia had been the House Second; she’s been replaced by Irina, who had been a close friend of Celina’s. Katya was Nadia’s friend.

Grey House has…
…a preference for sports of all kinds and is led by Scott Grey. Jonah is the captain of the House guard AND a member of the secret RG with Merit as his partner. (The RG is the Red Guard, a secret organization of vampires independent of any House, which keeps watch on vampire Masters.)

The North American Central Pack is…
…the shifter pack in Chicago and led by Gabriel Keene.

Adrien Reed owns Reed Logistics. Sorcha is his rather oblivious wife. Thomas O’Malley has been a friend of Reed’s for years; he was best man in his first wedding to Frederica.

The Circle is…
…a powerful criminal organization that holds notes to Navarre House. It hides behind a number of LLCs. Jude Maguire is an enforcer.

The theatrical Balthasar had been Ethan’s maker some four hundred years ago. Persephone was the human whom Ethan had loved. Nicole Heart, the current president of the Assembly of American Masters, had been part of their group at the time. She’s now based in Atlanta. Rémy is the vampire who took over when Balthasar “died”.

The Memento Mori had been…
…a cult who wanted to be immortal without being a vampire. Carlisle Foster and Julien Burrows (the faux one) were fellow prisoners with Balthasar.

The Assembly of American Masters is the new organization in America which replaced the Greenwich Presidium. Diane Kowalcyzk is the mayor of Chicago. Sanford King is a crook who was acquitted. The Order is the American union of sorcerers. Darryl Lee Moody was a thief who became a lesson for Chuck.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a wide range of oranges from the pale, almost brown of the roof tiles on which Merit is crouched in her high-heeled boots and black leather pants and tank top with her katana resting on her shoulder. Her long brown hair is swirling in the wind, the rain pelting down from a deep and bright orange sky and a well-lit Chicago skyline in the background.

The title is Navarre House’s problem; its Dark Debt for which Navarre must pay in kind.

three-half-stars

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