Title: Hard Bitten
Author: Chloe Neill
Series: Chicagoland Vampires, #4
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: NAL (Imprint of Penguin)
Date Published: May 3rd, 2011
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 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…
I’m at a loss for words with this one. I don’t know how to rate or review this because I am all over the place here. The book started out, honestly, a bit slower than the previous ones, but it thankfully picked up and the plot got to be pretty interesting so I was a happy camper. Then, and then, it just made me furious. I first off want to recommend that anyone reading this series not read any reviews from this particular book until you’ve read the book. I did, and unfortunately was spoiled on some pretty big things. Maybe that was for the best cause it prepared me a little, but that still didn’t prevent me from balling my eyes out and wanting to throw the book across the room.
Before I continue, I must rant (spoilers be warned, do not click unless you’ve read it):
Honestly, killing off Ethan was the absolute stupidest thing Neill could have done with this series. While Merit is indeed a very strong character, Ethan was the jelly to to Merit’s peanut butter. You just need both of them for this series to work. You create this incredible character and then you just kill him off out of the blue? Perhaps you have plans for Merit with another man, in which case I’m even more upset. Why create ANOTHER man for Merit, when you have one that’s already perfect for her? I would rather her and Ethan never end up together but always obviously love each other.
If that’s not the case, and there’s a reason, I’m not sure what it could possibly be. How could Ethan possibly come back after being dusted? I don’t see it happening. I have a big problem with this kind of series (that is essentially an on-going series without really and end goal but just about enjoying the ride) killing off a main character mid-stride. The end of the series isn’t even in sight as far as I’m aware. It’s just not the type of series you kill off the male love interest! But besides all that, I freaking loved Ethan. He’s awesome and he adored Merit. So yeah, I’m super pissed, as it seems everyone else was after this book. If Neill doesn’t pull something crazy out of her sleeve (no matter how ridiculous) to bring him back in the next book, I am honestly considering abandoning the series now. If I can’t trust the author to keep the main characters alive, then I don’t think I want to keep going. I like to be surprised, but not that kind of surprised.
Aside from the extreme emotions this one definitely causes, I really enjoyed the mystery in this story It was twisty and turny and left me guessing until the last page. I had my theories, but thankfully they all weren’t correct. Merit’s character is still as strong as ever. She may be conflicted about certain things I think most of us would have an easy time deciding on (*ahem* Ethan ), but her character is still growing and changing for the better. She’s becoming a strong, confident vampire and you can’t help but admire all the confidence she’s gained while still remaining charming and definitely not too cocky, yet just the right amount of snarky.
Overall, this one is kind of all over the place. In the beginning of the book I was thinking three stars cause while I loved reading about all my favorite characters, the plot was slow to take off. But the book did take off and I was hooked into the mystery from that point, well, until the end of the book of course. So it’s a rollercoaster, but it definitely brings about emotions. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing in this particular case though.
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