NAL Trade / August 7, 2012 / $15.00 print, $9.99 digital
Turned into a vampire against her will, twenty-eight-year-old Merit found her way into the dark circle of Chicago’s vampire underground, where she learned there was more to supernaturals than met the eye—and more supernaturals than the public ever imagined.
And not all the secrets she learned were for sharing—among humans or inhumans.
Now Merit is on the hunt, charging across the stark American Midwest, tailing a rogue supernatural intent on stealing an ancient artifact that could unleash catastrophic evil on the world. But Merit is also the prey. An enemy of Chicagoland is hunting her, and he’ll stop at nothing to get the book for himself. No mercy allowed.
No rules apply. No lives spared. The race is on.
While the main mystery plot of Biting Cold focuses on stopping the evil Seth Tate (kind of—it gets a little complicated), in order to do that Merit needs to talk with Mallory.
And while Merit can appreciate that it was Mallory’s magic that brought Ethan back to her at the end of Drink Deep—and Mal would really like to remind her of this—she knows her best friend didn’t do it in order to bring back her BFF’s lost love. No, Mallory was consumed by her own desires and used her friendship with Merit to get the elements to try and bring Ethan back as her familiar. Her intentions were never to ease her friend’s pain, but to use Ethan to bolster her power.
To call it a betrayal is almost not harsh enough of a word. But she didn’t complete the magic necessary, so Ethan isn’t a mindless drone and he is back at Cadogan House with Merit.
Merit has to deal with her feelings about Mallory. The broken trust here can’t be repaired in a single book, and readers will be pleased to see Merit doesn’t forgive easily. It would have been simple for Chloe Neill to say “that evil book made her do it” and move forward. It also would have been a cop out.
I complained that the resolution of events in Drink Deep was too easy. Neill makes up for this in Biting Cold. The emotional struggle in this one is handled elegantly and we watch Mallory come down from an addiction to black magic. And with that comes atonement.
We’ve all had a friend who made epic mistakes (not to a ’resurrect your boyfriend and try to make him your minion level’… probably), and Merit’s deep desire to have her friend back is so familiar. The resonating pang in your chest as Merit can’t bring herself to touch Mallory as her best friend cries her eyes out, maybe too familiar.
But this is a real friendship, and that takes work. When you love people, you’re willing to help them, even if you’re not ready to trust them yet.
The emotional honesty in Biting Cold reminds readers why we love Chloe Neill in the first place. Epic highs, broken lows and characters who make huge mistakes.
While Chelsea Mueller runs Vampire Book Club, she won’t turn down a sexy werewolf, demon or faerie. Her appreciation of Alexander Skarsgard is well documented. Bother her on Twitter — @ChelseaVBC — she likes it.