[ETA: No spoilers in this review however you may consider Catherine’s reaction to this book spoilerish]
If you haven’t read any of the previous books I strongly recommend that you do not jump into the series here. A large draw for the series is Ethan and Merit and their connection. Their attraction grows with each book and it’s best to read them in order and watch the tension build. Plus, you’ll probably be lost about the current situation with the humans if you haven’t at least read the last book.
Starting this book, I was pretty nervous. The last book, Twice Bitten, took me high and then it drop kicked me low. It managed to end on a hopeful note—so I didn’t have a complete meltdown—but I had some definite reservations about this one.
Surprisingly, everything seemed great as I read further and further. Ethan has taken huge strides from the guy we met back in book one. He is honestly repentant about his decision in Twice Bitten and tries his best to get Merit to give him another chance. I really liked that although Merit could see his sincerity she didn’t just fall back into his arms. She has some much deserved reservations and it’ll take time and patience on Ethan’s part to show her that he won’t falter this time. Too often heroines forgive and forget before I’m ready for them to. It’s nice to see a heroine who can hold a grudge—especially because it’s not held maliciously.
I really enjoyed seeing Merit back together with Mallory. One of my favorite things about the first book was the fact that Merit and Mallory were such great friends. Often in books it seems like the main character lives in a vacuum, so it was very refreshing to have so many outside ties with Merit. Although Lindsey’s nice to read about I still miss Mallory when she’s gone.
It was really nice to see Merit being there for Mallory just as much as Mallory is usually there for her. I still really wish we got more details about the magic and society that Mallory’s now a part of, but I understand that taking that tangent might take away too much from Merit’s story. In addition to getting more time with Mallory we also got to see more of Jeff and Merit’s grandfather. So it looks like the old gang is back together again. 😉
I really liked the subject Merit was investigating. Not only was it really interesting (and scary) to think of vampires acting like that, but it gave Merit an excuse to get out and about and take us deeper into the vampire world. I also loved that Merit took the lead and convinced Ethan to step back. It didn’t do her any favors, but it was nice to see him trust her and it was nice to see her really getting into her role as Sentinel.
Another thing that was appreciated (and long overdue) was Merit’s final conversation with Morgan. Thank God that the author took the time for that–he has had that coming for a while now. I’m also really glad that Ethan pointed out Merit’s hypocrisy regarding withholding information. The majority of the blame for their messed up relationship lies with Ethan, but Merit sure can be hypocritical when she’s on the other end of things.
Based on my enjoyment of the book you might be wondering why I only gave this one 3 hearts. Honestly, before page 335 I was all set to give this one 4.5 hearts. But then page 335 rolled around and it was all I could do to restrain myself from setting this book ON FIRE. I thought about giving it a 1 or 2 grade, but after waiting a few days to grade it (and letting myself calm down) I didn’t feel quite right doing that. The beginning was too good for me to let the horrible, horrible ending drive the grade down that far. So I just split it down the middle and gave it a 3.
You know those crazy readers who get way too attached and feel personally betrayed when authors throw in huge twists or catastrophic events? That’s me! I am that crazy reader! I literally stared dumbfounded at the page before frantically rereading that section, hoping that I read that wrong. When the shock wore off…oh, the rage. You don’t even want me to describe what I was feeling right then. I had to walk away from my computer to keep myself from sending a vicious email to the author. Luckily, I calmed down enough to prevent that idiocy, but then the depression set in. It’s been a few days and I’m still not quite over it.
I am not quite ready to dramatically swear off this series. I have read/watched way too many Paranormal and Fantasy books/movies to assume that this can’t be fixed somehow. So I’ll read the next book—although I think I’ll approach it cautiously. But if it’s not fixed…I think I’ll be saying goodbye. I do not enjoy reading books when I can’t trust the author. And I’d never trust the author after this. Unless, of course, it’s some elaborate plot that’ll go “Ha ha! Got you! Did you see your face?” and I’ll be like, “Oh my God, you totally did! That really sucked, but it’s okay now because you didn’t really mean it.” So I guess we’ll see in November.
“Never fear,” he said. “You may have gotten me down, but I’ve been above you before, and I’m sure I’ll manage it again.”
Read Sophia’s review HERE.
Be sure to check back later today for a chance to wind a copy of Hard Bitten by Chloe Neill.