I’m not sure how to start this review without giving away the big shocker at the end of the previous book so I guess SPOILER ALERT – the leader of Cadogan House was staked and turned into ash. Ethan Sullivan lunged in front of Merit, to protect her from the stake meant for her, leaving her grieving along with the rest of the vampires that he had been leader of. I was quite surprised Ms Neill went that route, killing off a major character so early in the series so I was curious to see what she had in mind going forward.
So Merit is adjusting to life without Ethan, and the house itself is adjusting to having a new leader, Malik, in place. To add to the frustration, Cadogan House is being investigated for mismanagement. Their blood packs are being rationed, boring bland food is brought in, and rules are being instituted left and right to keep them in line. Chicago citizens are picketing outside their home, still blaming them for the deaths of humans. To be honest, these vamps aren’t all that bloodthirsty – they have blood delivered, and there’s only the occasional mention of blood lust or fangs. For the most part, these are very well behaved supernaturals.
Then suddenly Lake Michigan turns inky black and everyone is convinced that the vampires have something to do with that as well. Merit teams up with Jonah, one of the guards at Grey House, to try and determine what is going on. Following the water is the sky turning red, and then earth rising up – the elementals of the world are out of control, but why? And how can it be stopped before the whole city is consumed with it? So many questions, and a lot of dead ends for Merit. She is having dreams of Ethan, echoing the situation in real life but it’s almost as if he’s not dead. Her friend, Mallory, is studying for her finals as a sorceress and she’s acting extremely weird, which doesn’t help things either.
Overall, not a whole lot happens in this book – there’s more supernaturals – the nymphs, the fairies and a siren make appearances but none of them are able to help. It’s not until the end, when a friend is exposed for betraying Merit, and Ms Neill magically fixes what she did in the last book. I’m not sure I agree with how she dealt with it; Merit seemed to accept the resolution easily enough, but of course there’s a lot more books to follow in this series so I’m sure nothing is resolved quite so quickly.