Publisher: NAL Trade
Released: March 3, 2015
Format: E-book, 368 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy
A vampire never gets old. But neither do his enemies. When a figure from Ethan's dark past makes a splashy debut in Chicago, Merit and her Master don't know whether he's friend or foe. But they'll have to figure out soon, because trouble is brewing in the Windy City.
At an exclusive society soiree attended by the upper echelons of the human and supernatural worlds, Merit and Ethan barely stop the assassination of a guest. When the target turns out to be a shady businessman with a criminal edge, Merit suspects a human vendetta. But the assassins have fangs....
The connections to Chicago's Houses go deeper than Merit knows, and even one wrong move could be her last..
Dark Debt is the Eleventh installment in the Chicagoland Vampires series. This time out, a blast from Ethan's past, Balthazar, makes things really interesting for Cadogan House as well as a group called The Circle. While Celina, even though she is dead, still weighs heavily on the vampires of Chicago, especially Navarre House. This story has so many angles, that I truly don't want to spoil them. I will say that there are numerous villains that make an appearances in Dark Debt, a perfect name for the background of this story.
I do love that there is absolutely no angst between Merit and Ethan. Their love for each other has been tested time and time again. Which means that we are that much closer to Gabriel Keene's prophecy coming true. Some emotional moments where I actually found my eyes watering, especially since it appears that Merit and Mallory are once again besties. I really missed their time together. I missed the jokes, the girl sessions, their love for eating way too many Mallocakes while watching over the top science fiction. Even though Mallory has made some really bad judgment errors, she's still a whole lot better than Merit's father Joshua.
I was a bit uncomfortable with one particular scene involving Merit and a villain that I thought came really close to crossing the line. I am absolutely not comfortable with over the top abuse, or near instances of rape. I understand the reasoning for Neill laying out this scene for readers. It is a huge moment for Merit as a vampire to realize that she now has the same weaknesses as other vampires. I think this bothers me a bit because I liked that Merit was unusual from other vampires. Everything from her father making a deal to make her a vampire, to Ethan giving her drugs to survive the transition to vampire. I've liked that she kept a bit of her humanity while learning to be the Sentinel of Cadogan, and a kickass vampire. Now, you can say that there isn't much that makes her special.
Dark Debt ends on yet another cliffhanger leading to yet another narcissistic psychopathic villain for Merit and Ethan to face. I know I've said this repeatedly, but the Ombuddies are awesome. I love Merit's grandfather Chuck, along with Catcher Bell, and Jeff Christopher. I have to say I am a bit shocked that Neill finally does something worthwhile with Joshua Merit and Merit's relationship. Not sure what this means for the future, but it was a moment that was a very long time coming. I do wonder where Neill is going with the whole Merit and Jonah problems that cropped up in Dark Debt. I am hoping that she doesn't dismiss Jonah entirely.
Dark Debt is a story that is filled with romance, snarky humor, action, mystery, food and more food, and a very surprising moment between two secondary characters that have gone through a whole lot since they met after Merit was turned into a vampire. I love the fact that the secondary characters, especially Luc, Malik, Lindsey, and Jonah are as much a part of this series, as Merit and Ethan are. I think the most surprising character is Morgan Greer from Navarre House. I always thought he was arrogance personified. But, he faces his own troubles and actually allows others to help him. Hopefully, that is a good sign for future relationship between Navarre and Cadogan.
**I received this book for free from (Penguin/NAL) via (NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**