by Chloe Neill
Series: Chicagoland Vampires #4
Published on May 3, 2011 by NAL Trade
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
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.
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Finally. FINALLY. Methan is alive and moving ahead.
Okay, no, I’m definitely not reading these just for the romance but after three books of struggles between Ethan and Merit, it was definitely a highlight to see it move forward even marginally so.
Hard Bitten brings the arc of Celina to a close. Though with that ending I know there are many books to come, this particular obstacle has run its course and Neill didn’t hold back, packing a punch in this fourth book and ensuring that I’ll never be able to forget it.
The fourth in the series, this book was packed with action and plenty of mystery. Nothing was easy about this story. Merit struggled. All the characters struggled, really. And it was lovely. Of the paranormal stories I’ve read, I have not often found one that portrays the supernatural beings in such a human way. There’s always an unnatural feel to their characters — not in a bad way, but in the way that they aren’t human. But I like that the Chicagoland Vampires are more human than they’d like to let on. They deal with everyday issues as much as the next person.
Plus the writing. I love Merit’s voice. She has so much snark to share with the world, but can be serious and scared and angry and all around flawed in the best way.
My one bit of annoyance with Hard Bitten was the amount of politics woven into the plot. I don’t generally mind it but it was a bit heavy handed this time around and seemed to be a lot of convenient maneuvering on one end while the good guys struggled to figured it all out. Lots of bits of information that seemed easy to come by or problems easily solved were put aside for the longer way around. But I don’t think it brought the pacing down too much and, in fact, this was probably the quickest read of them yet!
Now, to that romance. I mean Ethan is hotter than Hades and he and Merit have had their thing going for some time now. And as the patient reader that I am *cough* I waited for them to move forward because clearly they’re the end game in all of this.
But then that ending hit and just WHAM. My heart. Shattered. This book will destroy you and you’re going to need the next book immediately.
I can’t get enough of this series. I wasn’t so sure about it after the second book but then they got SO good! I’ll be diving into the next one as soon as I can get my hands on it and if you haven’t checked out the Chicagoland Vampire series yet, definitely do. This is one paranormal series you do not want to miss!