Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: New American Library
Publish Date: November 1, 2011
From the author's website:
Clouds are brewing over Cadogan House, and recently turned vampire Merit can’t tell if this is the darkness before the dawn or the calm before the storm. With the city iself in turmoil over paranormals and the state threatening to pass a paranormal registration act, times haven’t been this precarious for vampires since they came out of the closet. If only they could lay low for a bit, and let the mortals calm down.
That’s when the waters of Lake Michigan suddenly turn pitch black-and things really start getting ugly.
Chicago’s mayor insists it’s nothing to worry about, but Merit knows only the darkest magic could have woven a spell powerful enough to change the very fabric of nature. She’ll have to turn to friends old and new to find out who’s behind this, and stop them before it’s too late for vampires and humans alike.
*SPOILER FREE REVIEW*
As Drink Deep opens, Vampire Merit is trying to get over the events that took place in the previous book, Hard Bitten. She's made the decision to soldier on and be the vampire she needs to be in order to do her job of protecting Cadogan House and its inhabitants. To that effect, she's been working with Jonah, from Grey House, who's been teaching her a few new things and is still trying to recruit her for the Red Guard.
When Lake Michigan suddenly turns black and stops moving, Chicago immediately blames it on their favorite supernatural scapegoat - the vampires. Merit's job is to find out what's happening and make it stop, but in the absence of any clues she doesn't know how to fix it. Adding to Merit's problems is Frank, the receiver appointed by the Greenwich Presidium to review Cadogan House; he's instituted a new policy of blood-rationing and is trying to edge Merit out of her position at the House.
While trying to solve the city's problem and dealing with Frank's machinations at the house, Merit is also trying to salvage her fractured friendship with Mallory, and that's not going so well either. Has Merit finally taken on too much to handle? Are the vampires going to finally be ousted from Chicago, or will it only be Cadogan House that suffers....
Ms. Neill's world-building is so well crafted it's like going back home after vacation each time I pick up the newest installment - as soon as I open the book I fall right in and immerse myself in this fictional, vampire-infused Chicago. Merit continues to be one of my favorite UF heroines - she's tough, smart, loyal, and persistent, but not obnoxiously so. She's definitely the kind of chick I'd love to have as a friend, if she wasn't a vampire ;) The cast and crew of secondary characters are well-rounded and consistent - they stress me out right along with Merit!
I've got a little confession to make: I liked Jonah in Hard Bitten and like him even more in Drink Deep. *points to self* I'm definitely a Jonah fan; he's a stand-up guy and I think he and Merit work well together. Is there some attraction there? Sure, but Merit handles it nicely and I like the underlying tension between them; I"m a sucker for a love-triangle and usually try to see one whether it's there or not.
After the last book, I didn't want to see Tate ever again. He's back in Drink Deep and creeps me the *f* out. He talked Merit out of something that I hope won't come back to haunt her.
As far as the mystery of the lake, I enjoyed it - I kept flip-flopping between two theories but was wrong on both counts. I did figure out the problem before Merit did though...
There are some changes that take place in Drink Deep, including two shockers near the end of the book. I think most people will be happy with the surprise and not so happy with the twist (I'm sorry I can't be any less cryptic without giving away spoilers). I surprised myself by being not so happy about the surprise, but can't wait to find out what's going on with the twist - this one's going to be good, I can feel it!!
So, again, I've got to trust Ms. Neil that she knows what's best for Merit and that she'll get her HEA by the end of the series. Biting Cold is going to kill me, I can tell already!!