by Terrance Mc Arthur
Details on how to win a copy of Blood Games at the end of this review, as well as a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL.
There are a lot of cookie-cutter fantasy books out there. You know what I mean–previously oblivious to the fantasy realms and characters around her, a young woman suddenly becomes a death-and-carnage-dealing, hard-hitting powerhouse with a sexual hunk of paranormal fulfillment for a mentor/mate. There’s nothing wrong with these characters, but I often wonder how, with all the frenetic battles or passionate sex they engage in, they have any energy left for the other part, be it frenetic sex or passionate battles.
One really-good, really-fun series is the Chicagoland Vampires novels by Chloe Neill. Her latest, Blood Games, has action, mystery, intrigue, and romance. Merit has only been a vampire for a year, but she has already been trained to be the Sentinel of Cadogan House, and she shares the bed and undead life of Ethan, Master of the House. Ethan has challenged Darius, head of the Greenwich Presidium, the multi-continental vampire ruling body. When Darius shows up in Chicago, Ethan and Merit and Co. prepare for battle, but are surprised when they find Darius cordial and distracted. What is going on, and what do they need to do about it?
When the son of a police-department friend is elaborately murdered with props related to vampires, Merit becomes part of the investigating team, in queries that take her to hidden vampire militias, tarot cards, castles, witchcraft-supply retailers (go with the on-line stores; the prices are better), and a marvelous and silly trip to a comic book & fantasy convention, where she finds oddly-familiar-looking underwear and comes face-to-face with herself (after a fashion). The challenge to Darius takes an unexpected turn, and the struggle for power becomes personal, with blackmail, drive-by shootings, burglary, psychological testing, kidnapping, threats, creatures, and fire. Things don’t always go according to the expected rules of the fantasy novel realm, but they are definitely interesting.
Blood Games is the tenth Chicagoland Vampires book (Neill also pens the Dark Elite series), and there is much room left to explore in the world of these characters. Neill follows some formulas, but she isn’t afraid to mix things up and keep her readers guessing. More power to her.
To enter to win a copy of Blood Games, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Games,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 6, 2014. U.S. residents only.
Check out more fantasy book reviews in our fantasy and fangs section.