Book Review: Biting Cold

Picking up the story immediately after the surprising conclusion of Drink Deep, Merit and Ethan are driving from Chicago to a Nebraska silo in a desperate bid to prevent Mallory, a powerful young sorceress from getting her hands on the Maleficium. Once Merit’s best friend, Mallory attempted to turn Ethan into her familiar in order to release the evil held captive within the Maleficium thus returning balance to the world, no matter the cost to those around her. And that cost has already been exceedingly high, should Mallory succeed, it could bring about the total destruction of entire cities. Unfortunately, Mallory isn’t the only one looking to use the Maleficium. Seth Tate, Chicago’s former mayor turned drug lord is a power to be reckoned with already, Merit and Ethan cannot conceive of the havoc that would be the result of him using the ancient book. Although the Order was supposed to keep Mallory under control and the Maleficium well protected, it has failed on all accounts and shows no signs of rectifying the situation.

As a result of the showdown at the Nebraska silo, Seth Tate has split into two beings creating even more problems for Merit and Ethan who have no idea what sort of creature he might be. When the Maleficium failed to produce the expected results, Mallory finally begins to realize what she has been doing and is appalled at the things she has done. Quite naturally, no one, including her former boyfriend Catcher, trusts her and for good reason. Even as Dominic, the being separated from Seth begins exacting his personal brand of justice, all of Cadogan House is under investigation by the Greenwich Presidium, a council that oversees all the affiliated vampire houses. There is every likelihood that the Presidium will vote to excommunicate Cadogan House thus turning all the vampires under Ethan’s rule into rogues. It will take every bit of Merit’s skill as Sentinel to survive the upcoming battles ahead and even then, the future is far from secure.

Merit’s on again/off again romance with Ethan plummets to another low with the discovery of a side effect from his resurrection at Mallory’s hands. With all the problems brought about due to Mallory, Merit has little time to worry about her love interest. Neill delivers a fast, furious absorbing urban fantasy that proves yet again, having vampire reflexes and strengths doesn’t mean life is going to be easy. The premise for the next installment leaves plenty of room much more trouble ahead for Merit and Cadogan House.

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