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.
urban fantasy in Paperback edition that was published by Berkley on April 25, 2017 and has 384 pages.
Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.
Other books by this author which I have reviewed 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, Dark Debt, The Sight, The Hunt
Thirteenth (and last) in this part of the Chicagoland Vampires urban fantasy series revolving around Merit, the Cadogan House Sentinel, and her love, Ethan “Darth” Sullivan, Master of the House.
Yep, it’s the last of the Chicagoland Vampires in this generation. You’ll just have to keep an eye out for Wild Hunger, the first in the Heirs of Chicagoland coming in 2018. It should be just as fun as this series has been.
Meantime, “who’s getting married in the evening! Ding dong! The bad guys are gonna chime…” ‘Cause, yeah, that’s how they roll in Chicagoland Vampires. A disaster every minute. God forbid Merit and Ethan actually get the whole wedding thing. Although, Merit did have a nice start on it with the bachelorette party Lindsey and Mallory planned. The things you can do with chocolate…talk about YUM!
The ideal bachelorette party is one where you can “objectify his body and his brain …’cause he gives good word…”
It does sound as though the ceremony and the decor were gorgeous. And that dress! Oh, lordy. It sounds so pretty.
It’s pretty much the same ol’, same ol’ with a nice bit of tension, as the core gang tries to figure out how to take down the bad girl and her new pet. At the same time, Neill has woven in Gabe’s prediction about the child.
And for some reason, Neill just had to toss in a really lame trope to, what? Create some tension? Drama? It was superfluous and unnecessary. Worse, Neill never went anywhere with it. Oh, she did resolve it later in the book, but what was the point of even bringing it in?
I do like that Merit and Mallory call people on their crap, lol. That fairy snarks, and Mallory snarks right back — you go, girl! I liked how the girls summed up Sorcha’s actions. And too true they were.
It’s this attitude that Neill has toward her characters and the plot beats that makes me characterize the series as young adult. And no, I don’t mean to be offensive to young adult readers. Neill simply doesn’t put thought into her scenarios. Can the cops and politicians really be this obtuse about how useful the Order will be? Do they seriously not check them out? They’ve experienced what the Houses can do, and compared to the Order…hmphh, I know who I’d trust. As for their deciding so quickly about Sorcha’s demands…yep, their response is juvenile as well. Neill could at least have written some argument into this…*eye roll*…
Crack me up: “How exactly, did one bottle blood that was ‘shade grown’?”View Spoiler »Then there’s Ethan’s worries about Merit eating for two…he figures he’ll have to go into bankruptcy if she’s eating twice as much as she usually does. Elisa may only use one word for all occasions, but the way Neill writes of her, you grasp every nuance, lol.
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What’s the deal with this Cadogan House tradition that has never been done before??
Okay, yeah, the ending was cute and about time, but it was too easy. Especially after the actions of the politicos throughout the story. One press conference and ta-dahhh??
Since the night of her brutal attack and unwilling transformation to vampire, Merit’s stood as Sentinel and protector of Chicago’s Cadogan House. She’s saved the Windy City from the forces of darkness time and again with her liege and lover, Ethan Sullivan, by her side.
Now the House has been infiltrated and Merit is attacked by a vampire seemingly under the sway of dark magic, Merit and Ethan realize the danger is closer than they could have ever imagined. As a malign sorcery spreads throughout the city, Merit must go to war against supernatural powers beyond her comprehension. It’s her last chance to save everything … and everyone … she loves.
Merit “Duchess” has stood as the House Sentinel and protector almost from the very start in Some Girls Bite, 1. She’s been much less conspicuous as the House social chair. Mallory Carmichael, the shadowed girl, is her dearest friend, maid of honor, and a sorceress with issues. She’s married to Catcher Bell, a sorcerer.
Merit’s father, Joshua, is more interested in doing business with Merit Properties while her mother, Meredith, obsesses with committees and social doings. Charlotte is Merit’s sister (and her bridesmaid); Olivia is her little girl (and the flowergirl). Her brother, Robert, and his wife, Elizabeth, aren’t interested in Merit now that she’s a vampire…and since she queered his deal with Adrien Reed.
Ethan “Darth” Sullivan, a.k.a., Bloodletter, is the Master of Cadogan House and Merit’s love. Balthasar had been Ethan’s sire. Amit Patel is the most powerful vampire in the world and a Very Strong Psych as well as Ethan’s best man.
Cadogan House is…
…one of four vampire houses (think sorority/fraternity) in Chicago. Malik is Ethan’s second-in-command and married to Aaliyah, a writer. Helen is the House den mother. Luc is captain of the House guards and is sweet on Lindsey, another guard and one of Merit’s friends. Juliet “Jules”, Kelly and Brody (he’s an excellent driver) are more guards. Margot is the House chef. Katherine plays a mean cello and her brother, Thomas, plays the violin. Paige is a sorceress who is dating the Cadogan Librarian. Peter Cadogan was the first Master.
Other Houses in Chicago include…
…Grey House where Jonah is the captain of the guards as well as Merit’s partner in the Red Guard. Scott Grey is their master. Morgan Greer is head of Navarre House.
Lacey Sheridan is Master of Sheridan House in San Diego and had been in love with Ethan. Nicole Heart is the head of Atlanta’s Heart House and founder of the Assembly of American Masters, which replaced the Greenwich Presidium (Blood Games, 10). Victor Garcia is head of Cabot House in New York (Blood Games).
The Red Guards (RG) are…
…a secret organization of vampires who keep an eye on the Masters and how they treat their vampires.
The Ombudsman’s Office is…
…the official liaison between the supernaturals and the police. Chuck Merit, Merit’s grandfather, is the ombudsman. Jeff Christopher, a tiger shifter, is the computer ace. Catcher Bell is another of Chuck’s.
Chicago PD and politics
Detective Pulaski is in charge of the crazed mob incident. Jim Wilcox is in charge of SWAT. Special Agent Mikaela Pierce is with the FBI Paranormal Response Unit. Detective Arthur Jacobs has been a longtime supporter of the ombudsman and Cadogan. Mayor Diane Kowalcyzk has come a long way. Lane Conrad is her jerk of a chief of staff.
The Order is…
…a hopeless union of sorcerers and sorceresses and led by Al Baumgartner. He’ll partner up with the egomaniacal Simpson, Tangetti, and Morehouse.
Sorcha Reed (Dark Debt, 11) is the Maleficent of Chicago, a wicked sorceress who escaped (Midnight Marked, 12). The Towerline building was the fiasco Merit’s father regrets. Logan Hill had been the vampire who had attacked Merit in Some Girls Bite. The Danzig Manuscript is a grimoire from the 17th century written by Portnoy. The Egregore is Sorcha’s Trojan horse.
Gabriel is the alpha for the North American Central Pack; Tanya is his mate and Connor is their son. Fallon Keene is Gabriel’s sister and dating Jeff. Shay Templeton will be the wedding photographer. Sean and Colin are brothers who own Temple Bar, the official Cadogan watering hole. Mrs. Bly wants her human nephew in Cadogan House. I’m not sure what Experience is, but I’ll guess it’s a business that caters to any experience you want. Annabelle Shaw is their friendly neighborhood necromancer (Midnight Marked, 12). Seth Tate, a former Chicago mayor, is the “good” half of the twin being and is still imprisoned; Dominic had been his “bad” half. Regan is his magically enhanced niece. Claudia is the queen of the fairies who betrayed Cadogan House. Emain Ablach is the green land, fairy land that Claudia can see but not visit. Paxton Leonard is one of the gatekeepers of precious documents at the University of Chicago Library. Nick Breckenridge is a journalist with the Tribune, a shifter, and an old friend of Merit’s.
Winston Stiles is a vampire with too many issues. Rosemary Parsons was the rioter with the knife. Pham is tapped to help on the boat being crushed. Stephen is the kid who goes overboard. Taylor is trapped under a building, all because of Tootsie.
The Cover and Title
I suspect the man on this cover is intended to be Ethan, but if it is…ugh… He’s definitely not the pretty boy I’d thought he was supposed to be. I know, I know, I’m so shallow. It’s dark, this cover. All deep grays and blacks of a stone staircase with balustrade rising up to the yellow-lit front door flanked by pots of yellow mums. Merit, her long black hair moving in the breeze, the blade of her katana resting on the shoulder of her black leather jacket, as she stands clad in worn blue jeans and high-heeled knee-high boots, one knee bent on the step above. The man with her is in black as well, crouched several steps above her, one hand on his knee, the other holding his own katana, an elbow resting on his other knee. The author’s name and informational blurbs are in white at the top of the cover. The title is in a deep coral across Merit’s knees while the series information is below that in yellow against a black background with a yellow outline and elaborate ends.
The title is the key to their and the city’s salvation, to become Blade Bound…and safe.