Title: Harley Merlin and the Mortal Pact
Author: Bella Forrest
What’s it about: Everyone take a moment in the cabin to come to grips with the fact that no one has magic anymore. Harley’s Purge Mist sits out on the lake, so they decide to split up with Zalaam, Krieger, Jacob and Astrid staying in the cabin, and O’Halloran, Santana, Kadar, Alton, Harley, Wade, Tatyana, Dylan, and Finch head out to see Kenzie in order to get burner phones, and Hermetic batteries, which are more powerful version of Ephemeras.
Katherine’s facade is cracking from all of the Raw power, and she cannot comprehend how she got screwed in the last moment as Harley was not supposed to escape. She’s desperate to get Harley’s body as she’s the only one that can hold all the power Katherine has, and she has no desire to be stuck in Gaia’s world. She considers using Finch as he has the same bloodline, but then sends Davin off to find Harley. Then she finds Gaia’s Children as well as the remaining magicals. She then bends the Crowleys and Remington to her will. Katherine returns to the SDC with the intent to get Tobe to listen to her, while the rest of her cultists repopulate the Covens. Except Tobe is nowhere to be found, so she speaks to the Gargoyles, telling them to find Tobe for her.
The Rag team visits Kenzie, ransacks her place, and then head to New Orleans to meet with Marie Laveau. They get attacked by Davin and some cultists, until Kadar opens the door to Marie’s inter-dimensional bubble and she rips Davin and the cultists apart. Marie agrees to help them, and as Harley reads the spell from the Grimoire, Marie reveals that it’s part of a three part spell in which Harley must call Erebus and Lux together to negotiate for the power to use Erebus. The caveat is that they must meet in Stonehenge, which is the portal to Elysium, the neutral ground for the Children of Chaos. She tells her that if Katherine were to use a part of that spell, she’d be able to inhabit Harley’s body because they are related by blood.
Katherine frees some prisoners at Purgatory, especially those that want to follow her, and the cultist bring people who are fighting against Katherine into Purgatory. Suddenly, Davin staggers through a portal with the cultists put together, having resurrected himself. He tells Katherine what had happened and that Marie Laveau had gotten involved, so Katherine comes up with another plan to get Harley.
The group meets up with Tobe in Yellowstone National Park, with three dozen other Purge Beasts. Tobe reveals that in order for Harley to succeed with the spell, it will require a considerable amount of power, so he will have to sacrifice some of his purge beasts. The Gargoyles from the Bestiary find them, and a battle ensues, in which the Rag Team and Tobe win. Tobe assigns a Purge Beast to each member of the team in order to protect them. Harley calls the Smiths to check on them, only to find Davin’s voice on the other end of the phone. He gives her an ultimatum–if she cares for the Smiths, she’ll show up at an Inn. The Rag Team come up with a plan to save the Smiths, and they actually beat Davin, again, using him to fill their Hermetic Batteries. Harley throws a curse at Davin, and then with Wade and Finch’s help, she opens a door to the Purgatory Office, and throw Davin through, scaring Katherine.
Katherine is furious at the nerve of the three of them, and it’s not doing her body any favors, just as Harley had predicted. She wonders if she loves Davin, at which point she decides to shut that emotion down as it would mean that another man has lead her to her destruction. She sends two cultists after Harley, and then hightails it to Gaia’s world with Davin in tow.
At Stonehenge, Harley makes the final preparation for the spell, and then calls on Erebus and Lux. She’s about to accept Erebus’ deal, when Katherine spills into Stonehenge with her cultists, after finding out about their movements there. She takes them into Elysium, and the fight starts. Katherine fixes her sight on Harley, and knocks her away from her formation before Harley is able to seal the deal. She starts giving Harley a play by play of what is going on to her friends in order to break her. Suddenly the whole Catemaco Clan, Tatyana’s parents, Levi and dozens of other magicals all wearing Hermetic batteries show up. Katherine carves something into Harley’s forehead and palm.
Finch realizes that he has to finish what Harley started, and Tobe gives him the vial to drink before he allows Erebus to take over his body. Together with Garret, Finch heads towards the Grimoire, except that Davin kills Garret. Finch makes it to the book, drinks the vial, does the last part of the spell and accepts the same terms from Lux. Erebus blasts out a plus around the three of them, which shocks Katherine, and stops the fighting temporarily. Harley then reminds Katherine that Finch is also a Merlin and Katherine is the one who bore him, which angers her. So Katherine starts to use magic to kill Harley, who in turn dips to the Dark affinity, with every willpower of her own, and starts fighting back.
Finch agrees to the deal of being Erebus’ servant indefinitely with a caveat–Harley must live. Lux accepts and Erebus takes over Finch’s body. Erebus goes for Katherine and asks her why Finch has a Dempsey Suppressor, and comments that Finch is more powerful than Katherine and just as powerful as Harley. He snaps Finch’s suppressor, and Katherine begs Finch for mercy. He tells Erebus to destroy Katherine. Once Katherine is gone, Erebus tells Gaia’s children to take the cultists and kill them, but Harley begs for their mercy, so they take them to Gaia’s world to rebuild it. At that point, Harley starts dying, and with some prodding from Finch, Erebus heals her, after which he leaves Finch’s body.
Everyone has a happy reunion except for Astrid as Garrett is dead. Alton reveals that he made a deal with the Bai Gu Jing for Isadora which means that he’s dying. As his final sacrifice for Astrid, he asks Bai Gu Jing to bring back the remnants of Astrid’s soul and Garrett. Lux then opens up two different portals, dropping Harley and friends in the Cabin, while sending the others to different locations. As she chucks the Merlin Grimoire back at Harley through the portal, she notices the mist on the lake, and calls over Erebus. Harley’s Purge turns into a teenage version of Harley, turning out to be Gaia. Gaia opens a channel between Astrid and her father’s spirit to ease her suffering, after which she returns the Chaos to the rest of them.
Finch is surprised by the power in him, considering he no longer has the suppressor. He’s also not willing to return to Purgatory, but Harley convinces him to go the legal way on getting a pardon.
A month later, O’Halloran is the new director of the SDC, Tobe restores his Bestiary, Remington runs for the presidency of the United Covens of America, and tons of people got posthumous medals of valors including Hiro Nomura, Alton, Louella, the real Imogene, and Isadora. Astrid and Garrett still struggle, while Finch continues to have minor struggles in controlling his powers. Still, Finch had received full pardon from the Magical Supreme Court, as well as a Medal for his actions against Katherine. The children that Katherine used in her ritual were returned to their foster homes, their parents, or the coven, but they have no Chaos at all. Astrid becomes the new Preceptor of Human-Magical Relations, and Ryann applied for an internship as an advisor in the SDC, in order to better the Human-Magical Relations.
That day Harley goes to the New York Coven with Wade, and O’Halloran, where she clears her father’s name of any and all wrong-doing.
My Verdict: This was a really good book in the series. I loved the ending, and the twist that Finch was able to step in and defeat his own mother. The prior book convinced me that Finch really cares for Harley, but this book reveals that he is willing to take the steps to protect his sister, and sacrifice himself.
So overall, I really enjoyed this series, and I couldn’t put it down, even though there are some things that could have been better. I mostly read books for enjoyment, to pass the time, and this is my version of watching TV, so while this is not Harry Potter level, it is still very good. I am enraptured by this series; however, it seems that this series has quite a bit more to go, this time from Finch’s perspective. And considering that the author is releasing them so quickly, I’m not sure I can handle continuing reading this series with at least taking a break.
So here ends the Harley Merlin series, and I’ll see if I get back to the Finch portion of it, as I’m not actually excited about it as much as the Harley portion. It’s still a good series to enjoy when you have free time and you’re looking for some fantasy.