Today’s review comes courtesy of my friend and podcast co-host, Jess. She had been bugging me and bugging me to read Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to read them, I just never seemed to have the time. My to-be-read list gets longer everyday, after all. But then she did something that sort of forced my hand into moving these books up to the front of that list.
She finagled an ARC of book seven for us to review on the podcast.
Reading seven books in a week and a half can be a harrowing experience, but when those books are as good as the Chicagoland Vampires books are, it’s actually pretty easy. In a world where everyone and their dog seems to be writing about vampires, it is hard sometimes to weed out the good stuff from the bad (and there are a LOT of bad ones). Lucky for me, the Chicagoland Vampires are pretty darn good.
There are so many things that make these books great. You have Merit, the former grad student who was turned into a vamp without her consent (yes, you have to petition to become a vamp – it’s not just done willy nilly). You have Ethan Sullivan, the Master of Cadogan House, one of Chicago’s three vampire houses. The relationship between Merit and Ethan is complicated and sometimes seems to change by the hour, especially since he is the one who not only changed Merit into a vampire, but then made her Sentinel for the House, a position that demands unwavering loyalty. Merit is a no-nonsense heroine who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is a kick butt while she does it. You can’t help but like her.
The cast of characters goes on and on, but the thing that makes these books so much fun is the world that Chloe Neill creates. It’s one of those vampire societies that actually seems plausible. In addition to vampires, you have the shifters. They are not just werewolves, since they aren’t controlled by the moon and don’t just change into wolves, but they are the natural enemies to the vamps. There is a grudging alliance forming between the two groups, which is actually a beautiful thing. There are also sorcerers, fairies, and nymphs – all the major supernatural groups present and accounted for, but all with a slight twist. We spend the most time with the vampires, of course, and their society is fascinating.
These books are fun and sexy, dark and gritty, and everything in between. A must read for anyone interested in vampires that are written well.