Ruby's Reviews > Biting Cold

Biting Cold by Chloe Neill
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's review
Aug 21, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: urban-fantasy, chicagoland-vampires
Read in August, 2012

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This review includes major spoilers for books 1-5 in the Chicagoland Vampires series.

Without stopping to breathe, Biting Cold picks up the action where Drink Deep explosively left it off. Merit’s bestie, Mallory, made a shocking turn to the dark side with even more jaw-dropping results. Even as I was dramatically wailing over the death of one of the my favorite fictional best friendships, I was cheering because ETHAN WAS BACK!!! I mean, *scoffs* I knew he would be. I just didn’t know when. Or how far Ethan’s (temporary) death would set back his relationship with Merit.

I shouldn’t have worried. Chloe Neill is well aware that she can’t have Merit and Ethan walk the will they/won’t they line forever. And, she is one of those authors that realizes that the “prerelationship” (her word, not mine) isn’t the only phase that interests readers. The decision to commit doesn’t automatically solve all of a couple’s problems. (I’m so wise.) While Biting Cold will probably give readers a few frustrating moments, Ethan and Merit fans will no doubt be thrilled by the ending. Everyone, I hope, will at least be cheering that things do not stagnate.

Biting Cold‘s primary plot concerns Chicago’s former mayor Seth Tate, whom Merit has known since childhood. This was a relief to me, because the initial setup of the book suggested a rerun of the last half of Drink Deep. The grand reveal about Tate, and Merit saving Chicago once again, I could almost have done without. Though Merit doesn’t spend this installment chasing after Mallory, the outcome of her betrayal is very much a part of the story. The best bits–aside from Merit and Ethan trying to figure out what his resurrection means for the two of them, as much as it means for Cadogan–are Merit’s interactions with all the people she’s met since becoming a vampire. From shifter Jeff to sassy Lindsey, to the newly met Paige and even her erstwhile suitor, Morgan, it becomes apparent that, while Merit might have lost a best friend, but she’s gained a community.

For me, it’s rare to come across a series whose quality manages to match the number of volumes stride for stride. Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampire books are one of those exceptions for me. So far, Neill has managed to imbue each installment of this series with something fresh, new, and compelling. It helps that her over-arching plot–GP’s displeasure with Cadogan House–never fails to add tension. As long as she keeps Gabriel in the mix, I’ll keep reading…

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