31 October 2013

Blast from the past review: Hard Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires #4) by Chloe Neill

What they say: Times are hard for newly minted vampire Merit. Ever since shapeshifters announced their presence to the world, humans have been rallying against supernaturals—and they're camping outside of Cadogan House with protest signs that could turn to pitchforks at any moment. Inside its doors, things between Merit and her Master, green-eyed heartbreaker Ethan Sullivan, are tense. But then the mayor of Chicago calls Merit and Ethan to a clandestine meeting and tells them about a violent vamp attack that has left three women missing. His message is simple: get your House in order. Or else.

Merit needs to get to the bottom of this crime, but it doesn't help that she can't tell who's on her side. So she secretly calls in a favor from someone who's tall, dark, and part of an underground vamp group that may have some deep intel on the attack. Merit soon finds herself in the heady, dark heart of Chicago's supernatural society—a world full of vampires who seem to be ready to fulfill the protesting human's worst fears, and a place where she'll learn that you can't be a vampire without getting a little blood on your hands.
What I say: It's going to be hard for me to talk about anything other than the ENDING *sobs*, but I'll try.
In terms of Merit and Ethan: After their *ahem* session in the last book and Ethan's subsequent 'freak out', Ethan spent the rest of Twice Bitten and most of Hard Bitten trying to win Merit round again. The blame for this turn-around I put entirely with Ethan, and I can understand why Merit wants to distance herself from him. It will take a lot of work from Ethan to regain Merit's trust, but it was nice to see him trying. I did get sick of all the half-truths and lies he told her, but I suppose he has a lot at 'stake' (sorry couldn't resist)!!
I enjoyed seeing Merit call Morgan out on a few things, because let's be honest he NEEDED to hear them. I still like Morgan in a I'm-sure-he's-shifty kinda way. So if Morgan's out as competition for Ethan, than hello Jonah! The whole "Merit is mine" scene he provoked was brilliant.
I find all the stuff with Merit's father sort of distracting, but I wasn't expecting the level of involvement he actually had had with the vampires from the off. Clever and sneaky Chloe Neill!
I'm starting to sense warning signs about Mallory. I'm thinking her inner bad witch may come out to play soon.
A LOT happens in Hard Bitten and the Red Guard involvement has increased. It was also interesting to see the changed human opinion concerning the vampires; less as sexy and mysterious and more as evil, we must stake you all.
THE ENDING!! Er well, it would have massively ruined my day if I had read the Chicagoland series back when it was first published and didn't already have some semblance of what's going to happen. BUT reading the event actually unfold was really sad. Neill must have been expecting some kind of fallout from the ending and I wonder how far in advance she planned the series.
Much better than Twice Bitten, but also really frustrating. Hard Bitten is a good edition to the series in terms of world building and helping Merit grow.
4 Stars in my Sky!
My fav non-spoilery quotes:
  • Sometimes hanging out in pyjamas with a good book sounded like a phenomenal idea.
  • Only a four-hundred-year-old vampire would wonder if a grad student could understand procrastination.
  • "Be stubborn if you wish to, if you need to, but we know how this will end."
  • It was my TBR-my To Be Read stack. The usual subjects were there. Chick lit. Action. A Pulitzer Prize winner. A romance novel about a pirate and a damsel in a low-cut blouse (What? Even vampire enjoys a little bodice ripping now and again).

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