Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Size: 368 pages
Publisher: NAL Trade
Release Date: July 6, 2010
Stand Alone or Series: 3rd book in the Chicagoland Vampires series
Source: Audiobook through Audible.com
Rating: 5/5 stars
This is the third book in the Chicagoland Vampires series and my favorite so far. This book had a more solid plot than previous books and things escalate both between Ethan and Merit and between the shapeshifters and the vampires. Definitely a must read if you enjoyed the first couple books of this series.
I listed to this on audiobook and the audiobooks for this series are incredibly well done. This is one of those series that I think sounds even better than it would read; the narrator just does such a wonderful job.
Shapeshifters are meeting in the Windy City and they meet to decide if they will return to their homeland or stay for the oncoming supernatural war. Ethan lends out Merit’s services as a bodyguard to the shapeshifter’s leader Gabriel-Keene. As the time to the Shapeshifter Convocation draws closer it becomes clear that someone has put a hit out on Gabriel. Merit continually finds herself in the line of fire. Not only that but she is trying to navigate treacherous politics between the shapeshifters and vamps while also doing one on one training sessions with Ethan to try to improve her lackluster sparring skills.
This was the best book in this series so far. Things are really building to a climax in multiple ways. The shapeshifters are on the edge of either staying of fleeing as war approaches the supernatural community and the way they choose will tip the balance one way or the other. The tension between Merit and Ethan is constantly building and it was absolutely killing me to know what would happen between them. Merit is starting to understand her own powers and finally figuring out way to break down the wall she keeps hitting when she tries to spar.
Romance is a huge driver in this story. The tension between Merit and Ethan is absolutely sizzling. This is one of those books where I loved Ethan and then I hated him. Seriously he jerks Merit around so much; yet he does it in a strangely understandable way. The only other series I can think of that has had me as emotionally involved as this one is the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost. I swear there were parts of this book where I was holding my breath to see what would happen.
Beyond that a lot of other neat stuff happens in this book. Lots of action in this one, Merit finds herself in a number of combat situations and performs admirably. The addition of the shapeshifters raised the stakes and ratcheted up the tension in this book, really driving the plot forward. So much depending on their decision to stay or leave. I continue to love the fun and witty banter between all of these wonderful characters.
The story wraps up well, but will have people a bit frustrated I am sure. I am very eager to see where both the building-war and the Merit-Ethan thing ends up going. I am dying to read Hard Bitten now. I was a little disappointed that Mallory wasn’t in the story more, she always adds a lot of fun. Hopefully we will see her more in future installments.
Overall the best book in this series, absolutely stellar. If you liked the first few books in this series you’ll love this one. Tons of action, building tension between the shifters and vamps, and lots of Ethan-Merit moments. This was a super engaging and fun read. Highly recommended to fans of urban fantasy. Reminds a bit of the Night Huntress series; so if you like that series I think you will love this one as well.