The Flooze's Reviews > Biting Cold

Biting Cold by Chloe Neill
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's review
Jan 29, 2012

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bookshelves: urban-fantasy-paranormal, owned, vanquished_2012, glutton_for_punishment

*2.5 to 3 stars*

Dearest Inquisitive Reader:

If you haven’t yet read the previous book in the series, Drink Deep, I bid thee SHOO. Go on now, nothing to see here. Clear off.

The Flooze

Noooowww, to those of you who are left:

Drink Deep wasn’t stellar. I found it rife with pacing issues. I despaired at Merit’s choice of companions. I failed to be impressed at her investigatory skills. I thought the wrap-up was, well, a tad boring. In my review, I made the claim that Biting Cold might make or break my fanhood.

So what’s the verdict? Sigh.

Merit is likable. Heck, even other supes find themselves trusting her. She takes her self-appointed role of Diplomat Between the Races seriously, hoping to forge alliances and better everyone’s standing in an uneasy world. She’s also kick-ass with a katana.

But too often, she loses sight of the Big Picture. Though her emotional, empathetic leanings are what make her open to playing diplomat, these same qualities hindered her at a few key moments. Hindered her to the point that I wanted to smack her upside the head, because her emotions create convenient opportunities for the villain to gain the upper hand.

Example one: Early in the book, Merit has the chance to grab an item and put a halt to the evil-doing. She wastes this opening, instead taking a time-out to check on the people around her. She gives the bad guys valuable seconds to re-group, and by doing so puts everyone at further risk.

Example two: Imminent danger! Innocents will die! Must. Save. Everyone! But, oh, this nice police officer wants to know why I have a sword in public so I will spend four pages pleading with him to let me and my righteous weapon mosey along and fight the good fight. Um. She has vampiric speed. And strength. I understand she doesn’t want to hurt the boys in blue, but there are bigger things at stake here. Again, a waste of valuable time. Tell Mr. Officer sorry and do what needs to be done.

Example three: Fighting Big Bad! Everyone’s survival depends on me! So when the villain is down and out for a hot second, of course I’m going to use those precious moments to finish him off with a slash and a cry! Roar! Except, uh, no. No, I’m not. Apparently I’m going to use that moment to dash off to the sidelines and check on my darling lover. Because giving the dark forces time to recuperate will work out just fine for everyone.

My views might seem a bit heartless. Of course I expect her to be worried. Of course I expect her to want to check on her loved ones. But you don’t do that while they’re all still in danger. You eliminate the threat first. You administer aid and kisses after.

This is especially irksome since these three incidents embody the totality of the book’s action scenes. The rest of the plot suffers from the same lack of momentum as Drink Deep. In one section, Merit spends an inordinate amount of time in the house, bouncing between Ethan’s office, the Ops room, Ethan’s apartment, the kitchen, and finally returning to Ops again. Yes, she goes on field trips and finds out Important Things, but my overall impression was that she hardly needed to leave the Cadogan mansion at all. The action and answers would come to her door eventually, so why not sit back with some cheese fries and a blood juice box and let it.

Speaking of cheese fries: I know a girl’s gotta eat, and I appreciate knowing that Merit can throw down with the grease-lovin’ best of us. But do I need to be privy to every morsel she inhales? Freakin’ book made me hungry.

Back to the idea of never needing to leave the house. Merit’s miserable at piecing things together. She makes no hypotheses as to the nature of the Big Bad even though she’s handed some rather nice clues. She doesn’t research very well either, ignoring - again - an obvious in-house resource: The Librarian. And he’s rightfully bitter and condescending about it, too.
The librarian rolled his eyes and walked down the row. “Sometimes I wonder why you don’t just ask me the questions in the first place.”
Don’t we all, librarian. Don’t. We. All. Next time can we have him solve everything, with Merit just dispatched when it’s time to kill things or make nice? Hmmn…

Which brings me to the other folks in Merit’s life. Mallory: still don’t like her. Have no interest in seeing her redeemed because even early on I didn’t think she was the greatest friend to Merit. She deserves to be cut off. Catcher: a pain in the ass. He’s rude and abrupt and that chip on his shoulder is weighing me down. There comes a point when I can no longer focus on a person’s good intentions because their day-to-day behaviour is so profoundly negative as to make them unbearable. Gabe: solid and sensible. I need more of this man, who cares for others and supports them but has no desire to sugarcoat and coddle.

And finally, Ethan: infuriating. I want to shake him. Perhaps it’s due to me dealing with a similar man in my own life, one who needs to feel in control, who hates every hint of vulnerability so he’ll push away those he needs most at precisely the moments he needs them. It’s not a sign of strength. It’s a mark of weakness. And it only makes Merit behave in understandably crazy and confused ways. It’s not Ethan’s love for Merit that creates issues with his authority. It’s his inability to accept that love and incorporate it into his life that creates a detrimental lack of self-control. Argh. So, yeah. There’s a lot of relationship wah wah wahhing. Will the couple be able to weather another stressful situation, remaining together not just after but through it? We’ll have to wait and see. (Personally, I’m not liking the odds.)

The book ends with a focus on vamp politics. I know I should care about this. I know it’s been a thread throughout the series. But while I understand and appreciate the role of houses within Chicago, I’m hard-pressed to give a damn about the GP and their influence. I can’t recall any of the positives of the organization, so their displeasure with Cadogan doesn’t strike any fear in me. They seem to be playing at disappointed father, but when daddy dearest hasn’t been the one to feed, clothe, and nurture you all along, when the only clear thing you remember is that he released a Big Bad (Celina) and gave it the chance to kill you…well, daddy’s disappointment and threats don’t mean very much. Not to this reader at least.

Will I keep reading? I don’t know. In a year’s time, much of my aggravation will merely be words on a page - just as it was with Drink Deep. I don’t hate Merit. I don’t love her either. I feel very little attachment to these characters. They are like acquaintances I meet on the street, and I harbour a passing interest in how they are faring. When the next installment hits the shelves, I may see it and think, “Yes, let’s catch up. I hope things are better for you.” Or I may take a glance and say, “Still fighting the good fight. Good luck,” and quietly walk on by.
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Reading Progress

January 29, 2012 – Shelved
January 29, 2012 – Shelved as: urban-fantasy-paranormal
August 8, 2012 – Started Reading
August 8, 2012 – Shelved as: owned
August 8, 2012 –
page 2
0.57% "Picks up less than 24 hours after the end of the last book...and Merit is already discussing junk food!"
August 9, 2012 –
page 20
5.68% "If they are upside down, how can blood drip from his forehead. into. his eye. Sigh."
August 9, 2012 –
page 31
8.81% "You can't yadda yadda yadda nearly biting a fairy."
August 9, 2012 –
page 56
15.91% "Note to self: Always wear shin guards if you're going to be in the company of gnomes."
August 9, 2012 –
page 84
23.86% "So you've got a purpose, a mission: stop the evil thing from happening. And you're right smack in the middle of danger and haven't yet foiled the evil plan. Is this REALLY the time to run around checking on wounded folks? How stupid."
August 9, 2012 –
page 162
46.02% "She just went from Ethan's office, to Ops, to the kitchen, to Ethan's room, back to Ops, then to the library. Wow. Lots of mystery-solvin' happenin' here, folks. Intense! (Also, I've sat through at least four meals by now. I know a girl has to eat, but...)"
August 9, 2012 –
page 172
48.86% "The librarian rolled his eyes and walked down the row. "Sometimes I wonder why you don't just ask me the questions in the first place." - Yes, Librarian. Exactly. And what was that comment earlier, Merit, about using all available sources in a crisis? Next time things go to shit, let's just have the Librarian solve things while Merit eats mallowcakes."
August 9, 2012 –
page 192
54.55% "OH MY GOD. Crisis. Deaths. Imminent! And you spend THREE PAGES politely quibbling and pleading with the cops to let you go fight the bad guy?!?! Are you fucking kidding me?! You've GOT to be shitting me..."
August 9, 2012 –
page 230
65.34% "Oh, lord, woman. You haven't figured this out yet?"
August 9, 2012 –
page 264
75.0% "On tonight's episode of Motivational Merit: Friendships Are a Very Precious Gift. Learn how to be productive AND social!"
August 10, 2012 – Shelved as: vanquished_2012
August 10, 2012 – Finished Reading
August 11, 2012 – Shelved as: glutton_for_punishment

Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by Galla (new) - added it

Galla Ooh, looking forward to your updates on this one. I'm on the fence about whether or not I'll read it.

Marcia yeah, me too. I'm reading it but I swear most of the time I like your reviews better than the books themselves!

The Flooze Awwww, shucks. :)

I was reading over my reviews and notes for the last few books. I believe I claimed this one might make or break my fanhood. OOooooOoooo!

message 4: by Katyana (new)

Katyana Great review!

This series disappointed me. I loved the first book, and liked each successive one less and less. I think I quit 4 in. But I still like reading reviews from friends - it's as you say, the characters are like an acquaintance, and I'm mildly curious to hear how they're doing. But so far, no real urge to reconnect with them myself. Which is good, because from the reviews of the last couple, I'm fairly sure it would be a frustrating visit.

The Flooze Thanks!

Yes. Frustrating for your brain AND your tummy!

I felt eh about it from the beginning, but liked book 4's shake-ups, so that kept me going to here. I keep wishing for lots more of the rogues and the Red Guard because those are the bits that piqued my interest. But there's been too much emo, too little conspiracy. Sigh.

message 6: by Sandra (new)

Sandra I felt that way after book 1!

The Flooze Lol. Me and my foolish hopes for solid improvement. I should be heeding Sandra!

message 8: by Sandra (new)

Sandra The Flooze (Michelle M.) wrote: "Lol. Me and my foolish hopes for solid improvement. I should be heeding Sandra!"

True :-). The wisdom of your elders!

message 10: by AH (new) - added it

AH OK, now I am glad I didn't rush out to get my copy. I think I'll wait til the library gets it. Great review.

The Flooze Thanks!

It's not horrendous but STILL. It's too bad that one book got my hopes up for a series turn-around!

message 12: by AH (new) - added it

AH The Flooze (Michelle M.) wrote: "Thanks!

It's not horrendous but STILL. It's too bad that one book got my hopes up for a series turn-around!"

I did, too. I thought the author was toying with us after book 4, but now I'm seeing the reviews and I'll wait.

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