(Chicagoland Vampires #6)Chloe Neill
Available August 7th
Received from publisher for review
Warning: Review contains spoilers from previous books, but no spoilers from Biting Cold.
THE STORY (from Goodreads)Turned into a vampire against her will, twenty-eight-year-old Merit found her way into the dark circle of Chicago’s vampire underground, where she learned there was more to supernaturals than met the eye—and more supernaturals than the public ever imagined. And not all the secrets she learned were for sharing—among humans or inhumans.
Now Merit is on the hunt, charging across the stark American Midwest, tailing a rogue supernatural intent on stealing an ancient artifact that could unleash catastrophic evil on the world. But Merit is also the prey. An enemy of Chicagoland is hunting her, and he’ll stop at nothing to get the book for himself. No mercy allowed. No rules apply. No lives spared. The race is on.
MY THOUGHTSBiting Cold is a bit more serious and somber in tone than earlier books in the series, the witty banter between Merit and her cohorts subsiding as Chicago faces perhaps its strongest and most lethal foe yet. Luckily for us though, Ms. Neill has returned to us a beloved character, and we greedily devour pages that are missing her trademark humor but are ripe with the romantic tension between Ethan and Merit responsible for our addiction to the Chicagoland Vampire books in the first place. We happily trade some of the laughs for the electric sparks leaping back and forth between our two protagonists, craving a peace and happiness for them we know is not in their immediate future, and loving the return of a relationship that has the ability to make us smile wider than we ever have before while simultaneously frustrating us more than we ever thought possible.
While the end of Drink Deep left us hopeful that a sexy and gleeful reunion between Ethan and Merit would be forthcoming, Biting Cold proves to us that even death hasn’t fundamentally altered Ethan, and he remains indecisive and impulsive—making personal choices in the heat of the moment that hurt Merit and send whatever progress they’ve made back several steps. They are a couple reminiscent of those assigned to Dante’s second circle of Hell, picked up and violently tossed about by the intensity of their attraction while a cruel wind forces them to repeatedly circle one another without ever getting any closer. Merit continually reaches out to Ethan only to have her hand batted away when he allows his fear to overwhelm his heart and mind, and while we may groan when he plays his alpha and Liege card, it’s easy to see that his actions are not just a power play as they might have been three books ago, but rather they speak of a genuine concern for a woman who means more to him than his own life.
Merit is as strong as ever in this newest installment, jumping into danger from the first page and refusing to give up her pursuit of it until we reach the conclusion. We root for her the entire time, whether she’s battling evil, trying to save her best friend, or attempting to untangle the emotionally complicated knot that is Ethan Sullivan, wishing we could could pick up a katana and stand beside her to show the world what we’re made of. She handles the romantic situation with Ethan admirably, wanting to fight him when he pushes her away, but understanding that beating him into submission is a far cry from the willing surrender she wants from him. She gives him time and space when necessary, but also pushes when she sees him hiding behind his fear for her safety, proving to him again and again that she is a match for him in every possible way.
Biting Cold is a solid addition the Chicagoland series, both delighting us and upsetting us with a couple that has an uncanny ability to work themselves under our skin and set up house for the duration of our reading experience. We’re given a complete story in this installment, a lot of our questions about Mallory and Mayor Tate answered while events are nicely set up for the next book, and those readers like me who are more than a little in love with Gabriel Keene and his shifters will revel in their inclusion this story. All in all, Biting Cold, while notably missing in humor, is a joy to read and what’s to come for Cadogan House will no doubt prove interesting.