Two months after being devastated by the death of Ethan, Merit is attempting to move on. She feels like a huge piece of her life is missing, but as Sentinal for Cadogan House, she must protect her house and it's inhabitants from the human still protesting vampires existence and the receiver (one Franklin Cabot) the GP has sent to watch over them.
So while fighting with the edicts and rules that Frankfuter, as Lindsay calls him, put into place (things like no junk food, rationing bagged blood, no feeding from fellow vampires, no concerning yourself with human interests and participating in ridiculous physical endurance challenges), Merit soon finds herself investigating what is causing Lake Michigan and the Chicago River to seemingly become lifeless, why the sky appears to be burning and why mounds of earth are suddenly thrusting upwards into the middle of Wrigley Field. If that weren't enough, we have ex-Mayor Tate still trying to wreak havoc from behind bars, the new mayor (with presidential aspirations) deciding it's time to crackdown on all the supernaturals in the city and force them to register all while McKetrick pulls the mayor's strings in hopes of some in sighting vampire genocide.
What Merit discovers is an ancient magic is being used to create the anomalies attacking the city. It's now up to Merit, along with Jonah, Catcher and her grandfather, to try and figure out who on their list of possible suspects is responsible and stop them before vampires are wrongfully accused of creating the issue. But as they get closer to finding the person (or persons) responsible, Merit finds herself looking a little to close to home and learning the devastating effects of addiction.
Merit has to deal with a lot in this installment of the Chicagoland Vampire series. There's the receiver, who seems out to get her and pretty much destroy the house, her decision on whether or not to join the RG based on what the GP is allowing to be done to Cadogan House and then there is the after effects of Ethan's death and the nightmares keep Ethan in the forefront of Merit's mind. She has a pretty full plate before you add any of the other supernatural business.
Merit inner circle is changing too in this installment, which also piles onto her already overflowing plate.
Jonah, Guard Captain for Grey House (and he would be RG partner), becomes a huge ally for Merit. He wants more than friendship from her, but he knows she's still dealing with the fallout from Ethan's death. For now, he'll settle for partners. And he's a good partner, helping Merit when she needs it and knowing when to back off.
Mallory is beginning her sorceress testing with Simon. While Mallory seems "off" and extremely stressed, Merit chalks everything up to the testing. But certain events happen that has Merit questioning what Mallory is doing. Mallory is in a really bad place (I won't say more...you must read the book).
If Mallory is in a really bad place, than you probably don't want to be where poor Catcher is. Considering his job and the things that are going on in Chicago, you figure he's probably already stressed because of work. But then you add the insecurity of his relationship with Mallory and him being convinced that Simon is poisoning Mallory's mind against him and you have a very, very, very unhappy Catcher. It's no wonder he snapped at Mallory every time she called.
The ending is a bit "cliffhangerish" but nothing like Hard Bitten. I think what transpires in the last chapter will negate the cliffhanger. It does leave questions, of which I have many but can't post because then I will give away the last chapter, but I will pose this one. If the trip to Omaha doesn't go as planned, what kind of ripple effect with that have for Merit and everyone else in Chicago?