Author: Chloe Neill
Series: Chicagoland Vampires, #8
Release date: August 6th 2013
Paperback, 350 pages
Buy: The Book Depository
Merit has been a vampire for only a short while, but she’s already seen a lifetime’s worth of trouble. She and her Master, centuries-old Ethan Sullivan, have risked their lives time and again to save the city they love. But not all of Chicago is loving them back.Anti-vampire riots are erupting all over town, striking vampires where it hurts the most. A splinter group armed with Molotov cocktails and deep-seated hate is intent on clearing the fanged from the Windy City come hell or high water.Merit and her allies rush to figure out who’s behind the attacks, who will be targeted next, and whether there’s any way to stop the wanton destruction. The battle for Chicago is just beginning, and Merit is running out of time.
After a few rather disappointing installments, I’m happy to report that the Chicagoland series seems to have taken an upward turn. A significant improvement was noticeable in House Rules, but with Biting Bad, we’re right back on track. This eighth installment is just as good as the first two and it decidedly proves that the series has a lot more to give.
In terms of plot, Biting Bad offers more of the same, but it’s a recipe that undoubtedly works. Merit and Ethan face enemies both human and vampire, all equally dangerous. There is no downtime, no rest for the Cadogan house, and consequently, no time for our favorite couple to just enjoy each other’s company. They have to defend against everything from bombs to power plays, but at least they do it together.
It was strange, but oddly comforting to see Merit bested by a much older and much stronger vampire. Urban fantasy heroines tend to win against all odds, which can be almost ridiculous sometimes, but Chloe Neill steered clear of that trap while keeping her heroine strong and believable at the same time. I found myself smiling at Merit’s defeat and her need to be rescued by her liege because all of the sudden, I wasn’t seeing a UF protagonist, I was seeing Merit in flesh and blood, strong but vulnerable, smart but not all-powerful.
In addition, Neill finally took this where Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews went before her: there is no more unnecessary tension and second thoughts between Merit and Ethan. They face challenges together, and they do it wonderfully, as a real couple should. It’s them against the world and it works so well, it almost brought me to tears.
The only thing I find odd at this point in the series is the short time span in which these eight books happened. Ten months seem ridiculously short when one remembers everything that happened to Merit and Ethan, and with this detail in mind, their relationship and Merit’s strength lose some of its value and plausibility.
If you decide to start this series, or just catch up, forgive Neill and Merot for those two weaker installments. Keep in mind that things get infinitely better and just keep reading until they do. Chicagoland deserves your patience.