Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Review: Blood Games (Chicagoland Vampires #10)

While Merit didn't choose to become a vampire or Sentinel of Cadogan House, she vowed to fight for her House and its Master, and she's managed to forge strong alliances with powerful supernaturals across Chicago...Vampires and humans aren't on great terms, but murder makes for strange bedfellows. Can Merit find the killer before she becomes a target?

Blood Games, by Chloe Neill, is the tenth novel in the Chicagoland Vampires series. Cadogan House Master, Ethan, faces a new challenge -- he's willing to compete for the leadership position at the Greenwich Presidium (council of ruling vampires in Europe and North America). While he waits for a response, Ethan learns that someone isn't pleased with his decision and sends a message to rescind his challenge. Ethan’s unwillingness to open up to Merit about who the blackmailer is and what he or she is holding over his head causes friction between them. Merit becomes anxious about her role in the relationship when an old nemesis returns from the past returns to haunt Ethan. With this golden opportunity to reform the Greenwich Presidium, Merit supports Ethan's decision as both his Sentinel of Cadogan House and as his romantic partner (immortal lover).

To make matters worse, Darius is not himself when Ethan and Merit discover he has been magically hypnotized by an unknown power. Why is Darius making clandestine visits to the states and transferring money to a Swiss bank account? Finally, a killer is stalking Chicago, preying on humans and leaving the victims' bodies behind as magical souvenirs. The Chicago Police Department has not been able to identify the assailant, but clues at the crime scenes point to a vampire attack. As the body count rises, the police are running out of options. Merit and her friends must solve the murders before the city turns on them.

Blood Games picks up right from the previous novel when Ethan, master of Cadogan House, challenged Darius for the leadership of the Greenwich Presidium (literally the council of ruling vampires in Europe and North America). While Ethan is waiting for a response, he learns that someone from the past is not happy with his decision. As threats from an unknown enemy against Cadogan House continue to grow, Ethan's unwillingness to open up with Merit about his blackmailer puts a strain on their relationship. This novel is not your typical fairy tale. Ethan and Merit have their arguments, but the sizzling sex makes up for their endless drama.

This book wouldn't be complete without a mysterious case. When dead bodies turn up in ritualistic poses in her city, Merit is determined to get to the bottom of it. She helps her grandfather, Catcher, and the Chicago police solve a set of murders someone is trying to pin on the supernatural community. With each case, Merit is adjusting and growing more comfortable in her skin as a vampire and Sentinel. Furthermore, each challenge makes her a better girlfriend/partner for Ethan than before. Overall, this was a solid novel in the Chicagoland Vampire series. It comes with an surprising ending that I won't spoil -- Chloe Neill leaves cleverly leaves readers wanting more. What's not to like about vampires, shifters, and witches? I highly recommend this series.

Stay tuned for the eleventh novel in the Chicagoland Vampires novels, Dark Debt.

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