Friday, July 23, 2010

Review: Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill

Vamps in Chicago!

You'd think headlines like that would have provoked the fine citizens of the Windy City to take up arms against us bloodsucking fiends. Instead, ten months later, we're enjoying a celebrity status reserved for the Hollywood elite—fending off paparazzi only slightly less dangerous than cross and stake-wielding slayers. Don't get me wrong, Joe Public isn't exactly thrilled to be living side-by-side with the undead, but at least they haven't stormed the castle yet.

But all that will change once they learn about the Raves—mass feeding parties where vampires round up humans like cattle and drink themselves silly. Most civilized vampires frown on this behavior, putting mere mortals at ease with their policy of asking a person's consent before taking a big gulp of the red stuff. However, that doesn't make good copy for a first time reporter looking to impress his high society family.

So now my "master," the centuries old, yet gorgeously well-preserved Ethan Sullivan, wants me to reconnect with my own upper class family and act as liaison between humans and vampires—and keep the more unsavory aspects of our existence out of the media. But someone doesn't want people and vamps to play nicey-nice—someone with an ancient grudge. (from

As I tweeted this morning, I stayed up until 2 am last night to finish this book. I don't know what I was thinking, starting it after dinner because I knew that once I started it, I would be physically unable to stop until I was done. It was totally worth every yawn I had this morning too.

Here's what I wrote last July about the first Chicagoland Vampires book, Some Girls Bite:
Some Girls Bite rocked. This is related to one of the post ideas I've been working on, but when I started thinking about it I couldn't figure out what my point would have been, so I've dropped the idea. Some Girls Bite wasn't just a good vampire book, it was a good read period. I loved Merit, our protagonist, her friends, her love interest, everything. The only thing to complain about it that the next one doesn't come out until October. The ironic thing about this book is...Merit doesn't bite :)
Prompted by Jane, I picked up Friday Night Bites yesterday to get ready for Twice Bitten, the third book in Neill's series, which is on it's sweet way to me as I, um, speak. Friday Night Bites picks up right after Some Girls Bite ends, as Merit is preparing to move into the Cadogan house so she can be a better Sentinel, the official house warrior. Unfortunately, this puts Merit into closer proximity to Ethan, the head of Cadogan and her boss, and she's afraid that she won't be strong enough to keep Ethan at arm's length. Merit is also still kinda dating the head of the Navarre house, Morgan, having been manipulated into it by both Morgan and Ethan in the first book and she hasn't forgiven either of them.

Not long after Merit moves in, she gets orders to help her house gain an entree into Chicago society through her family's social connections. This is something that Merit definitely doesn't want to do for more than one reason; first, it will require her to deal with her father and all his political and social aspirations and he is certainly not beneath using his newly vampired daughter to get what he wants and second, it would mean lots of time spent with Ethan, most likely without any of the vampire hierarchy to keep them apart.

Merit's also having trouble with her vampire self. This was an integral part of the plot and I loved it. It brought some issues about Merit to light that I had wondered about and I'm glad they were (somewhat) resolved. These issues were affecting her training with Catcher and ultimately her friendship with Mallory, her BFF, but especially her strange relationship with Ethan. Merit's vampire wants some bad things bad and is keeping Merit in a constant fight for her sense of self and her humanity, something she is desperately trying to hold on to, while also doing her job and dealing with Ethan. By the end of Some Girls Bite, I pretty much loathed Ethan. A master manipulator, Ethan both wants Merit for himself and the House but also still thinks of her as a means to an end - an alliance with Navarre through her relationship with Morgan. Some inside information wouldn't be bad either. The houses don't get along, reminding me of Gryffindor and Slytherin from Harry Potter. Neither one is wholly good or evil on their own but their differences come from their attitudes and actions.

I have to say, the cast of characters Chloe Neill has set up here is fantastic. Merit is trying to straddle a very narrow line between the vampire world and the human one and it gives Neill the opportunity to introduce all sorts of folks. Witches with blue hair, sorcerers, geeky shifters, and more quirky vampires than you can shake a stick at. The sheer volume of the snark is just awesome and I laughed out loud several times. I found myself (again) emotionally invested in what happened to Merit, outraged when she was outraged, choked up when she was choked up, well, you get the idea. I would put the appeal and level of writing of Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampires series on par with Ilona Andrews's Kate Daniels series. Yes, it's that good.

Where did my copy come from: Jane

Other reviews:


jane gallagher said...

hello! found you thru google alerts for chloe neill and am a new follower. very much enjoyed reading your review of twice bitten. these are some of the best UF books coming out right now. i'll have to get a copy of the first kate daniels books - i keep hearing good stuff about them.

anyway, nice blog, looking forward to reading your reviews!

jane gallagher said...

thanks for stopping by my blog! so glad you agree about firespell. i was SO disappointed! it did not feel like it was written by the same author of our beloved chicagoland vampires. oh well. i will remain loyal to ethan all the days of my life.

and congrats on reaching double digits! i'm sure you'll double and triple it very soon. you should think about participating in the friday "book blogger hops" - great way to find new bloggers and get a bit of publicity for your own blog:

Jen the bibliophile said...

Friday Night Bites was such an awesome book! Have you read Twice Bitten yet? Its the best in the series so far!

In the Closet With a Bibliophile

Jen said...

Twice Bitten is in the mail right now and I am dying to get a hold of it.
The mail is just so stinking slow!