Thursday, August 2, 2012

Early Review - Biting Cold (Chicagoland Vampires # 6) - by Chloe Neill

Turned into a vampire against her will, twenty-eight-year-old Merit found her way into the dark circle of Chicago’s vampire underground, where she learned there was more to supernaturals than met the eye—and more supernaturals than the public ever imagined. And not all the secrets she learned were for sharing—among humans or inhumans.
Now Merit is on the hunt, charging across the stark American Midwest, tailing a rogue supernatural intent on stealing an ancient artifact that could unleash catastrophic evil on the world. But Merit is also the prey. An enemy of Chicagoland is hunting her, and he’ll stop at nothing to get the book for himself. No mercy allowed. No rules apply. No lives spared. The race is on.

Release date:  August 7, 2012 

"We have unfinished business, you and I."

Review:  Biting Cold leads off immediately where Drink Deep left off.  Merit and Ethan are hauling ass across the Midwest in an attempt to cut Mallory off at the past.  Mallory is still hell bent on releasing the evil that is captured in the Maleficium, which is housed in a silo in Nebraska.  Along the way, Ethan and Merit meet up with a very scary Seth Tate, who is also racing to grab the book of evil.  Ethan and Merit begin on soft, romantic terms, but unfortunately it turns into the same-old, same-old with these two.  Ethan slightly injures Merit by mistake and takes it to heart, leaving Merit in emotional turmoil through much of this book.

Merit and Ethan spend a sweet night sleeping together (no - not the sex kind of sleeping) and then it's on to business.  With the help of gnomes, Ethan and Merit are able to fight off a pissed off Mallory, who unbeknownst to Ethan and Merit, is working with Tate.  While attempting to free the evil from the Maleficium, Tate engages with Mallory's spell, and something happens to Tate.  I don't want to spoil it, but Tate is not who he seems to be. With the destruction of the Maleficium, Ethan and Merit must rely on some help from their friends.  Mallory is captured and is transported back to Chicago for detox.  She is addicted to this evil magic, and as a result of her actions in Drink Deep, Ethan is being affected by her.  As Ethan and Merit head back to Chicago, they have two additional problems besides Mallory - they must deal with Ethan's emotions and must deal with the GP and their attempt to shut down Cadogan House.

One of the reasons that I knocked a half star off of this book's rating is because of Ethan's regression into pushing Merit away from him.  This has been going on for far too long, especially after all he and Merit have been through.  Don't be scared of this, though.  I really enjoyed the ending of this book!  Another reason I marked off a half star is because of Mallory.  I get it - she's an addict and needs to go through detox.  It is evident in this book that Merit is still quite angry with Mallory, but I think she starts to soften too quickly.  No matter what Mallory does, in my opinion, she should not be forgiven immediately.  She has caused too much pain, with selfish and evil intentions.  It will be a long time before I, as a reader, can forgive her, and I think Merit needs to be a bit tougher on her, too.

"A shock of base fear ran through me.  It was easy to think of Tate as a storybook creature, but this was no storybook.  He was something old and fundamental to to the earth, created not to protect men, but to judge them.  He would see into your heart of hearts, and if he  found you lacking, you had only yourself to blame for your suffering."
Tate plays  major role in this book.  He is the cornerstone of the plot.  Who or what Tate is will be revealed by the end of this book, and let me say, it was not something that I could have guessed.  I think Chloe Neill did a great job with this part of the story.  I liked her solution to what Tate is, and I really liked part of Tate.  Then again, I never thought he was the ambitious, malevolent character that he came across as in previous books.

There was not much mention of Jonah or Morgan in Biting Cold, although they both held cameos.  Morgan redeemed himself a little bit in my eyes, although I don't know if that goodwill will last.  Jonah proved that he really is a good guy and as much as he likes Merit, he understands the relationship she has with Ethan is something bigger than himself.

Ethan finally shows some character growth in regards to his relationship with Merit, but it's not until later on in this book.  Ethan tells Merit the truth about why he changed her into a vampire. He owed her nothing but came to her anyways.  This is where my inner Ethan fan girl melts.  Our green-eyed vamp has always had eyes for his Sentinel, even before she was changed into a vampire.

My eyes filled with tears, and I said a silent thank you to the universe for sending him to me.  "I told you that you saved my life."  

There is one swoon worthy, sexy scene in this book that I still can't stop thinking about.  Ethan pretty much gives Merit all of himself, and it is a seriously sexy moment in this series.

But he wouldn't be swayed.  He put a hand on my chest, across my heart.  "This is for you," he whispered,"as a vampire, as a woman and for us, and for me."

One thing, aside from Ethan, that I really liked about Biting Cold was the way that Merit has grown since Ethan was "gone." She has become a confident vampire, in charge of herself, and she has grown into her position as Sentinel. No matter how broken up she was about Ethan's death, she knew in her heart that she was in charge of protecting her House, no matter how dead she herself was feeling inside. I think she matured and learned how to take care of problems on her own. I love how Merit has really come into herself. She is becoming one of my favorite, kick ass heroines.

Before the "big bad" was dispatched, there was a preparation for the fight.  There was a talk between Mallory and Ethan that showed just how much faith the vamp has in his Sentinel.  Not only does Ethan have faith in Merit as the protector of Cadogan House, but he has confidence in his feelings for her.  This scene shows me that Ethan and Merit are finally a truly united force.

"I am glad I'm alive, Mallory.  I thank you for that.  But you have put me and mine in danger, and those acts may ultimately prove unforgiveable."  He looked over at me, love shining in his eyes.  "And for all that, Merit still seems to believe in you.  I don't trust you," he said after a moment, "but I trust Merit.  And I have seen her fight,  and if you do anything to hurt me, she will come after you with all she has."

Malik also had a talk with  Merit before the big battle when she needed a pep talk.  Malik added some pressure to Merit, but it was a good kind of pressure that she needed.  He didn't pressure her to win the battle, but he pressured her to try.  I think that the confidence Malik shows in Merit is what propels her believe in her own abilities.

"There are few things in the world that he loves more than this House, Merit. Possibly one."  At the knowing gaze in his eyes, my cheeks flushed.  "And in all the world, he entrusted one girl, one scholar, with the right to defend it."

Then at the very end, a huge decision is made regarding Cadogan House.  They have been dealing with the Greenwich Presidium this entire book, while dealing with the evil big bad.  This decision will lead to massive repercussions as this series moves forward.  This event is reflected in the microcosm of Ethan and Merit.  Ethan gives Merit a gift at the end of this book that will change everything between them, much the same as the decision with Cadogan will change everything on a much larger level.  

To me, this book's main theme was about change.  Merit's and Ethan's relationship, the situation with Cadogan House and Mallory's fate are all up for a sea change.  I am very excited for the sixth book in this series.  We still don't know how or if Jonah and Merit will be working together in the Red Guard.  I want to see how Mallory progresses in her recovery and if Catcher will forgive her.  And I really want to see how Ethan and Merit function as a couple moving forward.

Next up:  February 5, 2013


Alexa said...

I really need to read this series! It sounds like it is full of great UF themes and some hot romance as well.

Thanks for the great review, so glad you enjoyed this one!

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