Format: e-book, Kindle edition
Genre: urban fantasy (I would add PNR but I am not sure)
Target audience: those unfortunate creatures who have read previous parts and got addictes e.g. me (adults)
Drink Deep catches up two months after Hard Bitten ends. Malik Washington is now in charge of Cadogan House and, surprise, surprise, he faces many problems. Well, a problem-free life for a vampire Master in Chicago? You must be kidding, right?
So, firstly the new mayor believes vampires have received special treatment so far and has decided to put a stop to it; she is strongly influenced by a man with an unreasonable hatred for vampires, believing they must be evil. Next the water in Lake Michigan and the Chicago river has turned black and stopped moving. The public is quick to blame the vampires, but they have had nothing to do with it. Still their task is to get to the bottom of this mystery before lynches start. Merit, as Sentinel, turns to Jonah, the captain of the guards for Grey House, for help. Jonah is also secretly a member of the Red Guard – he has tried to persuade Merit to join them. With the offer still standing he agrees to help investigate this weird disturbance.
Meanwhile Franklin Cabot has been appointed receiver of Cadogan House. The GP has decided they didn’t like the way the House was run by Ethan, so he was sent in to evaluate the damage and improve things. Frank is clearly a power-obsessed bureaucrat and soon he becomes a complete pain in the ass for everyone that lives at Cadogan House, limiting their blood consumption and making free speech illegal. Merit knows it can’t last long, especially as she is having vivid dreams or rather nightmares of Ethan. When the sky suddenly turns red, all supernatural creatures and humans realize they must solve this riddle before their city is destroyed by some evil forces.
What I liked:
The book was short. I didn’t waste a lot of time.
What I didn’t like (highlight to read the spoilers):
It will be one of sadder reviews. It proves me wrong – sometimes I am simply too optimistic when it comes to such novels, hoping for the best, expecting some logic and reason…
In my very humble opinion the whole series lost all steam and sparkle. To me it felt like Ms. Neill had just a deadline to meet and a book to write – a task, not creative pleasure. She did what she was supposed to do and what she was paid for but, apparently, she lacked skills and/or courage to continue the series in a logical way. Basically her story seems more or less like a dull repetition of old tricks, known from previous parts. I am sure any fanfic writer could have written such a book – perhaps actually some of them would have done a better job.
First of all Merit doesn’t seem to be developing as a character. It is a huge drawback in a character-driven plot. For example she doesn’t seem to be mourning for her ex-lover and master. Not really. Although she is sad, basically she gets back to work and fighting. I think I expected to see her undergoing some intense depression, to be lost in a staggering state of grief; well, maybe vampires are more resilient than humans but she is more or less ok, continuously making the same decisions and having the same inner turmoil, just with different man. It seemed strange. True, she has those Ethan-themed nightmares but who doesn’t have nightmares from time to time…
The book narration circles around a mystery which was quite obvious to me even at the very beginning. Repeatedly throughout the book there are references made to sorcerers being the only ones who could have initiated the elemental magic yet Merit and Jonah, her heavily educated partner with four doctorates, need the entire book to reach that conclusion, ultimately discovering it was Mallory. Merit claims repeatedly Mallory is like a close sister to her but still she doesn’t manage to put two and two together. It seems that Ethan took a big chunk of of her intelligence to his urn.
By the way I would have liked to have seen at least some build up indicating Mallory had a dark side. From the beginning of the series, Mallory was always like a level-headed and kind sidekick. Out of the blue, she is embracing evil ,becoming a power-crazy bitch and nearly destroying the city – why?
In the end a blow that left a really bad taste in my mouth. Ethan rises from the ashes. Like a phoenix. Just my luck – I never liked the guy and he is back. Honestly, I have read a lot of paranormal novels and I do understand that ordinary rules do not apply in that crazy world but this one seemed to be really too clumsily done and too far fetched, even for this genre. To be back, with the full sense of yourself from a pile of dust two months old? Yeah, yeah, sure, whatever…just why nobody had thought about it before? Mind you the spell that resurrected Ethan was interrupted, yet still he is here, fully formed with no apparent consequences…it was so sloppy, wrong and preposterous that almost anticlimactic. The deus ex machina gone way too far. Bad literature. Yawn.
I suppose I know what happened. I bet the author got cold feet about killing off one of her main characters. She must have spooked that so many fans were complaining and she took the most opportunistic decision – ok, here you have your Ethan back, enjoy, be happy and please, keep ordering the next installment. As if happiness was so easy to achieve…I suppose even the author herself doesn’t believe in the success of such a strategy – she has already started another series…guess why.
Unfortunately for me, this book fell very flat, ruining what appeared to be a very promising series. Pity. Chicagoland Vampries – farewell! Flames to dust…I think I need a hug. Perhaps I don’t deserve one for starting the series in the first place but if we got only what we deserve…