Friday, November 21, 2014

*Gizmos Book Reviews* Blood Games (Chicagoland Vampires #10) by Chloe Neill


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. But even though Merit has had wild adventures, this may be her deadliest yet...

A killer is stalking Chicago, preying on humans and leaving his victims with magical souvenirs. The CPD hasn’t been able to track the assailant, and as the body count rises, the city is running out of options. Vampires and humans aren’t on great terms, but murder makes for strange bedfellows. Can Merit find the killer before she becomes a target?

*My Thoughts*

Blood Games once again splits Merit's attention into several different directions. Not only does she have to deal with the media labeled Tarot Card Killer that hits close to home, but Ethan's challenge to Darius West and the GP's response to said challenge comes to call. But, that just scrapes the surface for what Neill puts Merit through in the 10th installment of the Chicagoland Vampires series.

I have no words for how disappointed I was with Blood Games. I think 3 stars is the best I can do with what I was given to work with. Not that I am bored with the series, there was just too much of Ethan keeping secrets from Merit and expecting that she wouldn't walk away or feel like she was being ignored by someone who supposedly wants a future deep into eternity with her. I guess when you consider the so called prophecy of future events between Merit and Ethan, in a way it makes perfect sense that they are still together.

When the couple does show affection, they don't go half way. I just wish we could put Ethan's past behind us and get on with other more interesting things like the arrival of Ethan's friend Amit Patel, the most powerful vampire in the world and the full truth behind Ethan's sire Balthasar, and what happens now that things have been turned upside down.

I will say that I would have been perfectly fine without the Tarot Card aspect of this story. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but it did take a major portion of the story away from Ethan's challenge, and facing off against a familiar foe from his past. I would have loved to see more action and mystery and perhaps a bit more danger from the GP than what was written.

On the other hand, it's a good thing it was added since it brought Mallory and Merit together to find the killer. I was impressed with Mallory. I like that she seems to finally have her head attached and doing things the right way. I like that her relationship with Catcher has moved forward instead of back. I like that Mallory and Merit have regained much of their lost friendship after some devastating issues that tore their friendship apart in past episodes. I like that she's found a way to become useful by helping others, and is interested in forensic magic.

I will say that I am not bored with Merit, her attitude, or the fact that as a Sentinel, she's actually grown leaps and bounds from the first installment. She knows that she has a job to do, and wants to do it the best she can and stands up to anyone who poses a danger to the house. I do wish, however, that we can finally put the whole fighting with stiletto boots on to rest. Have you ever tried running with stiletto heels? I'd also like a book where Merit isn't stabbed, shot, kidnapped, knocked out, or having had her bell wrung one too many times.

I also like the Ombuddies (Jeff, Catcher, and PawPaw Merit). I like how they are back in business and in the middle of everything once again. I would to see more of Jonah and Merit working together and maybe the rest of the Red Guard as well. I think they definitely click and make an excellent team. The rest of the team has been slowly revealed, but not entirely. I know people want to drool all over Ethan, but I can't help myself for wishing the best for Jonah.

In the end, I don't see why Neill chose THAT ending to Blood Games. After everything Ethan, Merit and Cadogan House has been through thanks to the GP, THAT is what we as readers can expect? Really? Call me absolutely floored and bored. I am damn sure hoping that Dark Debt refocuses the series back to where Merit and Ethan aren't spending half their time fighting or keeping secrets.

Author - Chloe Neill
Title - Blood Games
Series - Chicagoland Vampires # 10
Published by NAL Trade
Released: August 5, 2014
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: Paperback, 350 pages

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