I would love to do a series review for you but unfortunately, the two-by-four-to-the-head endings of the last two books make it pretty much impossible to do that without spoilering. God only knows what's in store for the remaining books! So instead of a review, here are Thirteen Random Thoughts about Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampires Series:
1. Right from page one, Merit's narration pulled me straight in. In the first 20 pages, we get an amazing amount of information about the world-building, the people closest to her, and the immediate events and it never feels dry or info-dumpy; every piece enticed me to learn more.
2. Helen, the... concierge? Den mother? character cracks me up. I don't know whether to love her or hate her. She definitely inspires both.
3. Merit, the unwillingly-turned, bookworm grad student cum vampire warrior, is pretty angsty for a chick. Usually it's the boys that are filled with teh angst. Also, she doesn't have red hair. Does the Urban Fantasy Kick-Ass Heroine Committee know about this?
4. Every single male character in this series is ...well... you know, I try to keep this blog at a PG-13 level, but the only word that is really RIGHT for this sentence is: fuckable. Even the bad guys. I wanted them all. Bring ice.
5. I did a stint as a University of Chicago grad student myself, back in the day. MERIT COULD HAVE BEEN ME.
6. I really miss Chicago-style pizza. It is not the same in Seattle. At all. Yes, this actually is relevant to the books because the way Neill talks about food is almost as drool-inducing as the way she talks about men. Mmmm.
7. It took me a little while to let go of the idea that an older vampire implies a more powerful vampire, despite the world-building mentions of ratings in Phys, Psy, and Strat strengths for the newbies vamps. Such is the power of the prevailing mythology, which means my suspension of disbelief falters a little bit with the whole "English Lit Grad Student becomes the Most Powerful Warrior of Them All" transformation.
8. The villain in book 5 hurt my heart a little bit. I hope book 6 fixes it.
9. Not sure I buy the whole big shocker thing in book 5. You know what I mean (no spoilers in comments, please!) It was a little cheaty-feeling, but on the other hand, very happy-making. So, I'm kind of on the fence about that, to be honest.
10. I enjoy the hints of political machinations, but despite a lot of set up in the first books, it did not seem like the Houses really had much pull. I would like to see what happens when they pull in favors. Why don't they have insiders with the press and the politicians?
11. The ending to book #4, Hard Bitten, hit me like a two-by-four to the head. I immediately downloaded #5, Drink Deep.
12. Then Neill DID IT AGAIN with book #5. So unfair!
13. I know exactly what I'm going to be reading on August 7. And if you like vampires at all, you should be doing the exact same thing. If you start now, you have plenty of time to get caught up with the series.
Find more Thirteeners at Thursday-13. Participants are welcome and encouraged to leave links in comments.