January 23, 2013

REVIEW: Biting Cold (Chicagoland Vampires #6)

Biting Cold (Chicagoland Vampires #6), by Chloe Neill
Published August 7, 2012
Publisher:  New American Library
Format:  Audiobook - borrowed from public library
Genre:  urban fantasy

Rating:  5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Turned into a vampire against her will, twenty-eight-year-old Merit found her way into the dark circle of Chicago’s vampire underground, where she learned there was more to supernaturals than met the eye—and more supernaturals than the public ever imagined.And not all the secrets she learned were for sharing—among humans or inhumans. Now Merit is on the hunt, charging across the stark American Midwest, tailing a rogue supernatural intent on stealing an ancient artifact that could unleash catastrophic evil on the world. But Merit is also the prey. An enemy of Chicagoland is hunting her, and he’ll stop at nothing to get the book for himself. No mercy allowed.

No rules apply. No lives spared. The race is on.

I know an audiobook is a good one when I literally have to talk myself out of my car in the morning when I get to work. It does something like, "Okay, Krista. Get out of the car. Turn off the radio. Ooo - as soon as this chapter is over. No! You're already 5 minutes late. Get out of the damn car! Okay. Wait! This is getting good! GAH!"

This was one of the best Chicagoland Vampires books yet. Which is really refreshing, because when series have a long run, it's easy for the plots to get tired, the characters to get annoying and the twists to get hokey. Not only do none of those adjectives apply to Biting Cold, this book is actually quite the opposite. Each one just gets better and better. 

*WARNING* Spoilers from Drink Deep are ahead, so if you haven't read it, you might not want to keep going here. 

One would think that Merit and Ethan would have it all figured out by now. Especially after the ending of Drink Deep. I know I thought they would. I was hoping, anyway. But, thankfully, Ms. Neill knows what we need better than we do. The Ethan we've all come to know and love is still an ass from time to time, and thank goodness for that. 

But, Merit has turned a corner in Biting Cold. She has fortified her heart and she knows what she wants. And, damned if she isn't finally ready to fight for it. Man, is it awesome seeing her finally give as good as she gets. And, I think that fire and spirit in her is what Ethan fell in love with in the first place. 

The big reveal is that we finally find out exactly what Mayor Tate is - what type of supernatural being. And, this could've been one of those hokey plot devices used to string us along for another few books, but I have to say that the way in which his nature was revealed, the mythology surrounding it, and how he is used to further the story is so creative. I've never read anything quite like it before. 

I'm so so so glad that Mallory didn't get off the hook easily. I would've been disappointed if her actions were swept under the rug and forgiven in haste in order to move things along. This chick did some very bad things. Things that I don't think that I, personally, could ever forgive her for. Apparently, Merit has the same misgivings as I. 

You know, I mentioned to a friend awhile ago that I thought that the Chicagoland Vampires series has a lot of Buffy-esque qualities to it. A cute, ass-kicking heroine with lots of snarky comebacks; a witchy BFF who tries to destroy the world; a moody quasi-boyfriend who dies, and then comes back. So, if you loved Buffy, then you will most undoubtedly love this series. Heck - even if you didn't love Buffy, you should give Merit and the gang a try. Because, this is the best urban fantasy series I've ever read. (And, I've read A LOT!)

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