Hard Bitten is the fourth book in Chloe Neill's The Chicagoland Vampires Series. This book concluded some important story lines that have progressed throughout the first three books.
This is a great series, with a strong heroine and a carefully constructed world filled with many complex characters. If you haven't read this series yet, I'd recommend starting with the first in the series, Some Girls Bite,
They killed me. They healed me. They changed me.
Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn't exactly glamorous, but it was mine. I was doing fine until Chicago's vampires announced theirexistence to the world-and then a rogue vampire attacked me. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker... and this one decided the best way to save my life was to make me the walking undead.
Turns out my savior was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now I've traded sweating over my thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan "Lord o' the Manor" Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed, four hundred year old vampire, he has centuries' worth of charm, but unfortunately he expects my gratitude-and servitude. Right...
But my burgeoning powers (all of a sudden, I'm surprisingly handy with some serious weaponry), an inconvenient sunlight allergy, and Ethan's attitude are the least of my concerns. Someone's still out to get me. Is it the rogue vampire who bit me? A vamp from a rival House? An angry mob bearing torches?
My initiation into Chicago's nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war-and there will be blood...
If you have read the series read on...
I'm going to recommend reading Hard Bitten, it's a great fourth book in the series. There was action and intrigue from start to finish. Merit has really grown into strong vampire. There is no more whining about what they did to her. She is the Sentinel of Cadogan House and proud of it. That said, some major story lines do wrap up in this book and I really can't review it without spoiling things. When you read Hard Bitten, please come back and tell me what you thought about it. It has many things worth discussing.
Rating 5 out of 5
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 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 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...
***WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS***
Wow! talk about a game-changer! I see Hard Bitten as the conclusion of the first chapter in Merit's life as a vampire. The titles even change after this book. no more Bites. Book five is Drink Deep. I think we'll see a very different Merit in the next book.
Before I get to the surprise ending, let's talk about the rest. Once again Celina is causing trouble. This time wasn't all her fault, but I have trouble thinking she minded all that much. I'm glad she's dead. As I said, this felt like the conclusion of the first chapter and I'm ready for Merit to have some new foes to deal with. That leads us to ...
Mayor Seth Tate. Whaaa? He's not all human, at least not anymore. Merit never sensed anything about him before, so either he was hiding it or he got some new (evil) powers! Merit also had a that very interesting girl talk with Mallory about Dark Magic, so it looks like we've got some new evil brewing involving the sorcerers. I'd love to see Merit and Mallory's supernatural world's collide. So far they haven't had any meaning intersecting and that could get really crazy.
We also got to put a face to the Greenwich Presidium (GP) who oversee vampire affairs. Darius's desire to stay removed from the obvious signs of trouble and their willingness to punish Merit for exposing things hints that there is more trouble to come from that side as well.
Next up, Joshua Merit. I didn't know that Merit was named for her dead sister. Was this in an earlier book and I forgot or was this new information? Either was, it says a lot about Joshua (and Merit's mom). I can't say it really surprised me that Joshua tried to make a deal to have Merit turned into a vampire. I always suspected he was involved somehow. He always seems to have his finger in everything happening in Merit's life.
I was glad Ethan turned him down, it would have been a let down to think he was capable of that level of selfishness. Plus, Celina's killing Merit for spite explained so much of her later behaviour and obsession with Merit. We still don't know why Morgan and Merit can speak mind-to-mind, and I'd always thought it had to do with Celina and Merit's attack somehow (like Morgan's involvement) but it doesn't seem to. I'm still curious if we'll even find out a reason for it.
Lastly, Holy crap Ethan gets staked and turns into a pile of ash! What can you say about that. Huh.
It was wonderfully written. It all happened to fast, boom, stake in the heart and Ethan's dead. While it's a shocker, Chloe Neill has been writing a really spectacular series about vampires that's followed it's own course and I trust that this is an important move for the series. Ethan was a great character and he and Merit had an important relationship, but the series is about more than that. We were never reading a romance, so while Merit will get her happy ending it won't be what we might have expected. I'm sorry to see a great character go but, honestly, a big move like that makes me even more excited for where the series will go.
The Chicagoland series just went to a whole other level.
5 out of 5