Book 13 in the Chicagoland Vampires series
Author Chloe Neill
Narrated by Sophie Eastlake
Publisher: Tantor Media
Publication date Jul 18, 2018
Running time 3 hrs
I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Vampires generally aren’t afraid of things that go bump in the night, but Merit and Ethan are extra jumpy after a recent attack by a dark sorcerer. So when they learn that someone is messing with graves in Chicago’s cemeteries, stealing skulls and snatching souls, they fear that their powerful foe might be back for even more magical vengeance.
But after a specter begins haunting Cadogan House—and targeting vampires—they realize that they’re being taunted by an altogether different sort of monster. A ghoulish villain straight out of the Windy City’s urban legends is on the prowl—and he won’t stop until he’s killed again . . .Contains mature themes. https://tantor.com/phantom-kiss-chloe-neill.html
This is a short book, expertly narrated by the voice of the Chicagoland Vampire series, Sophie Eastlake. We start off with Merit and Ethan at a wedding shower. There’s lots of snooty society types at the party and some biased relatives. They also get a lot of toasters, “How much toast do they think vampires eat?” quips Merit as she and Ethan spar romantically (location 562). The couple gets called out to a cemetery for a paranormal event and instead bringing home cake, per Malik’s request, they end up with something much more dangerous.
One thing I really like is how well Ethan is allowing Merit to do her job without stepping in. This shows a maturing of the relationship and shows me a relationship bound for success. They are both on the same page. And that unity, each knowing the other strengths. Merit moves aside when Ethan has to be all master of the house she moves to the side and when she has to fight he lets her. And there’s a lot of fighting and a lot of magic in this one!
I liked how Merit’s mother and sister, not the warmest family, is behind the wedding. It’s probably still not from a maternal instinct, but it’s better than nothing.
As always, Neill’s writing is smart, snarky and uniquely descriptive of the adventures, Cadogan House and everything wonderful that is Chicago.
It’s been fun to see this story and the relationship between Ethan and Merit grow. Other relationships are also interesting; with a large cast, Neill manages to develop many characters throughout and rarely depends on “type.”
PHANTOM KISS is well worth the time if you, like I, are a fan of the series but it is a short audiobook. I think it is better as a book to pay for than to use a credit on (unless you are rolling in credits) at around $7.50 at the time of writing. It may also be available in some online state library systems. This is not a good place to start the series.
When all is said and done, Neill’s mystery and action bits are nice, but what brings me back again and again are the relationships. It’s about trust, love and community more than it’s about who bites whom.