Chicagoland Vampires #3
by Chloe Neill
Published on July 6, 2010 by NAL Trade
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
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Merit, Chicago’s newest vampire, is learning how to play well with others. Other supernaturals, that is. Shapeshifters from across the country are convening in the Windy City, and as a gesture of peace, Master Vampire Ethan Sullivan has offered their leader a very special bodyguard: Merit. Merit is supposed to protect the Alpha, Gabriel Keene—and to spy for the vamps while she’s at it. Oh, and luckily Ethan’s offering some steamy, one-on-one combat training sessions to help her prepare for the mission.
Merit must accept the assignment, even though she knows that she’ll probably regret it. And she’s not wrong. Someone is gunning for Gabriel Keene, and Merit soon finds herself in the line of fire. She’ll need all the help she can get to track down the would-be assassin, but everywhere she turns, there are rising tensions between supernaturals—not least between her and a certain green-eyed, centuries old master vampire.
Well I was right about the last book, Friday Night Bites. Where the second book in the series fell a bit flat compared to the first, Some Girls Bite, this third installment kicked it back up into gear and was endless action in all the best ways. And that ending… I knew. I KNEW it was going to be a cliffhanger and really hoped to be disappointed because who wants to be kept waiting like that?! Thankfully I have the next one to dive into!
The biggest shift this time around was the inclusion of the shifters. So far the vamps have ruled the supernatural world of these books with mentions here and there of other groups but Neill introduces us to the North American pack and their alpha, Gabriel Keene. On top of that, Mallory returns to play a bigger role which I loved because her and Merit’s friendship is where this whole story started. They had their issues before but I’m glad to see the friendship mended and back as a larger part of the story.
I think the fact that their friendship came back stronger than ever made me feel less sympathy toward some of the situations she ended up in and the decisions she had to make? Which probably sounds weird but Merit is just amazing at everything, and she doesn’t have much to struggle with other than her attraction to Ethan. Having her friendship with Mal on the rocks sucked but I think it added that layer to her life that is now missing once more.
Speaking of her and Ethan…WHAT was this book? The biggest source of tension was their relationship and it was all over the place. It made me so happy and then absolutely furious because Ethan was finally redeeming himself and then he goes and is a jerk. But not just a jerk. It’s almost as though he goes out of his way to be cruel and I was not a very happy shipper.
Ethan wasn’t the only one that disappointed me. Merit did too. For all her talk she just wasn’t the badass I wanted her to be in this book. She wore the leather, she had the bravado going, but her actual actions were a bit lacking.
Thankfully, this was all made up for by the world because Chicago just got even more paranormal. I loved the shifters and their dynamics because it’s so different from the vampire way of life. There’s the tension between the two groups that I see playing a role in the future, plus Gabriel’s weird prophecy-thing he tells Merit. That felt like all sorts of foreshadowing.
So while the characters did show some development this time around and there were new elements to the Merit/Ethan romance that just needs to happen already, the world-building stole the show. I do hope to see more of the supernatural Chicago in the future as well as more realistic elements from the characters because they can’t all be good at everything!