If you have already read Drink Deep, then I'm not spoiling anything for you. If you haven't, please revert your eyes from this review until you do!
Biting Cold picks up immediately where Drink Deep left off. Ethan and Merit are together again after his miraculous return from the dead, and on the road to Nebraska where they hope to fend off a major confrontation with Mallory Carmichael. Mallory, as you know from reading Drink Deep, is totally obsessed with the book known as the Maleficium. So obsessed, in fact, that she nearly destroyed Chicago in the process and actually escaped her prison cell which was maintained by the Order.
I appreciated the fact that Merit didn't try to sugar-coat or bury Mallory's actions. She took control of the situation and then when she knew that Mallory wasn't going to be a problem any longer, she then released her foot from off her throat and allowed her to help with the worse of the problems Merit faces.
Mallory isn't the only problem that Ethan, Merit and those who support Cadogan House have to worry about. For the first time in awhile, Seth Tate, the ex-mayor of Chicago, comes out into the spotlight and we truly get a better idea of who and what Tate is and why he is so strong.
Tate really is the story this time around. Once Mallory is controlled, Merit has to turn her attention to the fact that Tate seems to have some sort of agenda that will further put pressure on the supernatural community of Chicago to take action. He also makes up for a lot of his previous pain and suffering which included nearly destroying Merit in the process. I can forgive a character for a lot of indiscretion once I understand why he/she did what they did. Understanding WHAT Tate is, made the second half of this story even better.
Biting Cold really comes together in a nearly perfect way. The story is straight up, without any detours. Merit has been a vampire now for nearly a year. She has found her groove as a vampire, and has come to terms with the fact that she's the sentinel of the Cadogan House which comes with loads of responsibilities including saving innocent people who may or may not hate the vampires of Chicago. She also realizes her love for Ethan and I appreciated the fact that Neill didn't just toss them together like two slices of bread without the meat filing. In the end, it made their relationship more understandable and yes, desirable.
As usual, there are still issues with the Greenwich Presidium that need to be addressed, and if the second half of this is any indication, readers of this series are in for a wild and thrilling ride. I am seriously jonesing for the next edition of this series now.
Lastly, I was kind of disappointed that we didn't get much of Jonah, Merit's Red Guard partner. I realize it was because Ethan was back in the fold, but, still Jonah has been there for her since everything went sideways. He deserves more story time than he gets in Biting Cold.
Biting Cold was kindly provided to me in lieu of an honest review by NAL Penguin.
**Updated** Expected publication: August 7, 2012 by NAL Penguin
Title - Biting Cold
Author - Chloe Neill
Publisher - NAL Penguin
Release Date - August 7, 2012