For now, with his emerald eyes licked on mine, where I was going didn’t seem so scary.
Biting Cold begins immediately after Deep Drink, with an action packed beginning with Ethan and Merritt on a road trip to Nebraska. Yes Ethan is back!!! Yay! I’ll admit I was a bit apprehensive going into Biting Cold after the events of Deep Drink because I was fearful as to who or what exactly we were getting back, when we discovered a once dead now alive Ethan. Had he been a zombie I would have died. Luckily, he’s resilient, and once I began reading I was eager to explore this newly alive Ethan and while I was anxious I was so excited with the Ethan Chloe Neill spoiled us with in Biting Cold.“You are a universe,” he reverentially whispered, and then his game began. A game of pushing me to the brink, of building the anticipation…..and leaving me stranded in the midst of it.
With Ethan and Merit in a race across the midwest in an attempt to stop Mallory who is determined to release the evil lurking inside the Maleficium book. I was excited to learn that Ethan and Merritt on a road trip means lots of alone time and hopefully some sexy time. Okay well, the sexy time was more like overwhelmingly sexual tension, because anyone that’s familiar with the Chicagoland Vampires Novels knows that Ethan and Merit always carry the weight of the supernatural world on their shoulders. Enter Tate, who becomes and early obstacle in Biting Cold, yet he brings excitement, and turmoil to the plot that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Mallory Carmichael, once Merits best friend that has unleashed horrific evil into Chicago for her own selfish desires yet, she is the reason that we have Ethan back. I’ll be honest most people will probably still hate Mallory after this book, and while I once loved her she is now meh to me but I also am grateful to her for being such a selfish and vindictive sorcerer that we now have our beloved Ethan back for good.She and Seth were a pair right now. Both facing guilt and the Spector of never being able to atone for what they’d done, both suffering because of a book intended-ironically-to make life better for everyone. The moral of the story? Don’t F-*k with the magical order.
Mallory is still obsessed with possessing this evil book of Maleficum, but move over Mallory because Seth Tate is going to give her a run for her money in irrational evil at the cost of destroying Chicago and those they love. Since her escape from the prison cell guarded by The Order she has been on a journey to possess evil and destroy anyone in her path to obtain it.“I will fight him.” We all looked at Ethan. ”I owe him one,” he said. But before I could object, he held up a hand. “I know the arguments you will make, Sentinel, and while I’m sure you would have made them well, this fight is mine. There will be no discussion. There will be no debate.” His eyes narrowed. “He has brought this battle on himself, and I mean to see it through.”
Biting Cold has a contender for main character and that would be Seth Tate. He has deviant method operandus and that will leave you guessing the entire book and that agenda wont unravel until the end, so that’s definitely something to look forward to. It’s shocking! He’s actually a new favorite character of mine because I saw a vulnerable side of him that he has yet to show in the first five installments of the series. We FINALLY discover what kind of supernatural creature Seth Tate is hiding under his disguise of an honest human being (which he has proven he’s neither) and while I didn’t see it coming, I was pleased with the outcome and applaud Chloe Neill for her creativity of introducing another supernatural species into the Chicagoland Vampire world. I have a feeling that Tate will play a much more prolific role in the upcoming novel House Rules due out early next year, and that’s most definitely something to look forward to.“You tell me Sentinel. You tell me about the man Ethan has become. He was raised from the dead by a witch who wanted to control him, to make him a thing to be used in the effectuation of her magic. That woman would destroy the world if allowed to do so. Can you tell me, with one hundred percent certainty, that Ethan bears no scars from his experience with her? That he is one hundred percent free of her influence.”
The Greenwich Presidium is still stirring up trouble amongst the vampires of Cadogan House and as Sentinel it’s Merits job to protect the house from all danger including danger caused by the Greenwich Presidium which is unfortunate considering they should be protecting the Cadogan House from outside threats not themselves. This harassment at the hands of Darius from the Greenwich Presidium is relentless against the Cadogan House and the honor they represent. If the Darius succeeds then the Cadogen House will have no other choice but to become estranged from the Greenwich Presidium therefore declaring themselves as enemies and that would disastrous.“We all have days when we feel small. Really small. Completely inadequate, but saddled with all this responsibility. I have to keep my house safe, my city from destroying it. I have to do right by Ethan and the rest of my vampires. I have to fight battles against people who shouldn’t be my enemies–especially when there are already plenty of enemies to go around. There are days when I would love to pull the cover over my head and say to hell with it. But I don’t!”
Each installment we get to watch Merit develop into the courageous vampire and powerful Sentinel she has become and Biting Cold is no exception to that rule. She incredibly powerful yet, strong and she takes her role as Sentinel seriously when she has to become the anchor of strength in she and Ethan’s relationship when an unfortunate (yet minor in my opinion thing) occurs causing Ethan to overreact out of fear for Merits safety. He puts a wall up and and Merit is left no other choice but to admire his attempt to protect her and show him just how strong and powerful she truly is. I’ll admit I was frustrated with this change of plot yet, I was tickled giddy with all the ways that Merit demonstrates to Ethan just “how” little she is in need of protection from him or anyone for that matter. She has grown immensely from the naive young made Vampire we met in Some Girls Bite, or even Deep Drink. Clearly it’s obvious that Merit didn’t just sit around and mourn the loss of her lover and maker she become fearless, and independent and remarkably resilient. I found her courage to be a breath of fresh air and a force to be reckoned with.For a long moment I held his gaze. I thought about how far I’d come and where we might be going next. I thought about Ethan and the life he was intent on giving me, even if that life existed in the midst of a new kind of chaos. A new reality for Cadogan House and it’s vampires.
I was fascinated by how easily Chloe Neill manipulated so many diverse plots throughout the entire book keeping me guessing, and eager to read quicker to discover all the secrets she was sharing within Biting Cold. She intertwined excitement, mystery, romance, and angst in such an incredibly easy read that I was enthralled from beginning to the end. It finally feels like after all the heartache caused in Hard Bitten (and trust me it was such a heartbreaker) we can finally breath again and do what Chloe Neill asked us to do after the outcry in Hard Bitten she asked us to trust her. Well mission accomplished, because finally once again I trust you Chloe Neill that even if you break my heart, you are such a remarkably talented story teller that you can easily mend it back while making me fall in love with your heroes once again. *Sigh* Although for me at times I felt Biting Cold to be a slower paced read, I still enjoyed the story woven and I think Chicagoland Vampire fans are in for real treat with this latest installment! I suggest you Pre-order your copy today, so your not missing out on the latest in the lives of our favorite vampires housed in Chicago!“You are mine Merit.”ARC
provided for review by NAL
This review is also on my blog Miss Vain's Paranormal Fantasy
Visit my blog on August 10, 2012 for the Biting Cold tour stop for the Scavenger Hunt clue that Chloe Neill is hosting.