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Despite the fact that this is the 9th installment in the series, I’m not even a little bored or sick of Merit, Ethan, the story or the rest of these characters. I admit that I was a little bit nervous when I first heard how many books were planned for the series (13 so far) but now that I’m more than halfway through the series, I don’t think I can ever get enough. Who doesn’t like a kick-ass vampire with a love of all things bacon? (I was going to say meat but that sounded dirty ;) ) With a great cast of characters that includes my favorite vampire, Ethan, Jeff, Gabriel, Catcher, Mallory and Jonah (among others), there’s still so much more of their story to tell!<br/><br/>After Cadogan House and more specifically Ethan, are being targeted by both the GP and the mayor, Ethan and Merit are forced to go into hiding and to once again rely on the help of the reluctant shifters. Lucky for the, they have a very powerful ally in Gabriel Keene, the pack leader and several other shifters including hacker extraordinaire Jeff Christopher. Unfortunately, not all the shifters feel that way and they love to blame their recent problems on the vampires. The fact that Gabriel is helping out vampires is making some of the other shifters question his loyalty and leadership. When a new supernatural creature starts attacking shifters, it’s up to Merit and Ethan and the rest of the gang to stop them before they lose their only alliance.<br/><br/>It always seems like it’s the Cadogan vampires up against the rest of the world. Luckily, they have a lot of help and I love the way the vampires from different houses work together with shifters, sorcerers and other supernatural creatures to solve whatever they’re up against this time. Despite the fact that they’ve done this other times throughout the series, it still doesn’t seem boring to me because it works with the overall story arc and it’s all leading up to events in future books. I’ve always thought of this series like a tv show. Buffy and the gang battled new creatures and saved the people Sunnydale every week, but with all the stuff that was going on with Buffy’s love life and the rest of the characters, it worked…I do wish that everyone would stop blaming Cadogan House for everything that goes wrong. I think Merit and the gang have more than proved their trust.<br/><br/>Merit and Ethan are definitely what makes this series so amazing! They’ve been through so much (that is a huge understatement) and it was nice to see them in a place where they are both on the same page regarding their relationship. They’re relationship has been one of those sloooooow build-up romances that has frustrated me at some parts, made me swoon at so many others, and broke my damn heart. I am so fucking happy to see them so happy and in love! One of my favorite things about their relationship is that they have enough trust in each other to let them fight their own battles. Merit may be a brand new vampire, but she is Sentinel of Cadogan House and she has kick-ass katana skills and can take care of herself. I love that Ethan knows when to fight for her, when to fight along with her, and when to let her fight her own battles. And vice versa. And whoa to stepping up the sex scenes in this book! Ethan and Merit have always had insanely hot chemistry, but I always wanted more than fade to black scenes. Especially considering this is an adult paranormal series. The last few books have upped the hotness level but this one was just wow! Totally increased my love for Ethan Sullivan even more. And hallelujah for no cliffhanger endings! *bows down to Chloe* Seriously, after the brutal cliffy in Hard Bitten (my heart still hurts just thinking about it), I can’t handle another ending like that! The ending leaves us with just the right amount of resolution for the current book, while leaving us excited for the next book. I love that these books have only a 6 month wait time between books instead of a year. Definitely keeping up with this series!<br/><br/>Audiobook Comments: This is the first time I listen to the audio version for this series. I was debating on ebook vs. audiobook but when I saw that Sophie Eastlake narrates these, I decided to go with the audio. I’ve already heard a book narrated by her (Rule by Jay Crownover) and knew I liked her. Considering there are so many important characters, I really loved how she gave everyone their own unique voice. Mallory sounded completetly different from Merit, and they sounded completely different for Lindsay’s character. Same thing with the guys. I knew who was talking right away which is sometimes a hard thing to follow in audiobooks. I’m going to continue the series on audio and have already started buying the first books so I can experience this series all over (and over) again!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
This series has captivated me from the get-go. It’s been such a journey to follow the Chicagoland houses, their masters, the characters, the stories, the magicks, the relationships that are forged between houses, the Grenwich Presidium, the Shifters (Gabe and his family)and the various villains and sorcerers (namely Mallory and Catcher Bell). We have been introduced to so many ‘supes’ (supernaturals) that it boggles the mind yet all of them have a place at the table and something both to offer and to decline. We have watched how supes struggle for recognition as meaningful and valuable members of the Chicagoland realm, embraced by strong men such as Merit’s Grandfather. Each book has grown in depth, maturity and creative development as Ms Neill’s voice as an author does the same. Of course, the key figures of Merit and Ethan—two of the strongest characters I’ve read in a long time remain the focus of the books along with plots and story lines that are intricate, complex and very very well-conceived. This book not only offers us another terrifically crafted tale of intrigue via supernatural kidnapping and side-show exploitation but also the continued maturation of the relationship between Merit and Ethan (Methan as Ms Neill likes to call them). I swear, some of the dialogue in this book has brought me to my emotional knees by the sheer beauty and intensity of how these two love, care for and are committed to each other AND to Cadogan House. The analogy of working with peoples who are ‘not like us’ is not lost here but skillfully incorporated and woven throughout the book.
Sopie Eastlake continues to bring her incredibly gifted voice(s) and understanding of the story to the tales. She is all characters well but especially Merit and even Ethan. She captures Merit’s spark and her vulnerability as well as Ethan’s aloof superiority and profound love of Merit. I’ll listen to damn near anything she narrates/reads/performs.
If you enjoy the paranormal genre and have not been introduced to this series, by all means start at the beginning and work your way to this one….the BEST ONE YET.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful