I read the first book of the Chicagoland Vampire series when I was in college. Vampire novels aren’t really my thing. I’m more of a werewolf girl. The first one, Some Girls Bite, was good. I liked it. But I couldn’t handle the suspense of my life so I quickly looked up the summary of the last book in the series and discovered SPOILERS. It upset me so much that I couldn’t continue reading the series at the time. It didn’t help that the hero, Ethan, made me want to crawl in a hole and despair of ever finding a man who believed in equality for men and women.
After some tragedy and culture shock issues, I picked up this series again and am trying to read straight through the series. Chloe Neill, the author, has written more of the books and I was surprised by some of the unexpected plot twists. The last book comes out some time next year.
Our story starts with Some Girls Bite, where Merit, our fearless heroine, is attacked on campus and turned into a vampire by Ethan, head of House Cadogan. Vampires came into the public not that long ago so there isn’t the hush hush secrecy that there is in some novels. I like the openness of it. Sometimes it seems impossible to be able for these vampiric worlds to exist without people finding out. This series doesn’t have those obvious issues.
Merit is a what many people would refer to as a “strong female character”. She knows her own mind and isn’t afraid to stand up for herself. She’s also insecure and a bit bitchy. She understands me.
Naturally there is some sort of sexual tension between Merit and Ethan, because what kind of vampire series would it be without an obvious love interest? What you don’t foresee is the on-again-off-again drama of their relationship. Everyone falls in love with Merit (I mean, I’ll be honest, I’M in love with Merit, so I see the appeal), but she always goes back to Ethan. Ethan, in my humble opinion, is a self-righteous prick. Merit’s presence in his life is a stabilizer and he becomes more like a normal person as the series goes on. Their relationship is maybe my least favorite in the series.
Why read it then? I can hear you asking. I’ll tell you. Mallory and Jeff. Mallory is Merit’s best friend. She finds out in the first books that she’s a sorceress. She also finds the love of her life, Catcher, in the first book. She seems super one dimensional. Until the fifth book when she goes all evil on everyone and turns to black magic.Then she becomes this fascinating character who proves that the badass best friend is sometimes literally a badass. Merit and Mallory’s relationship changes a lot and I love it.
Jeff is a were…something. I’m not going to ruin the surprise because you don’t find out until a few books in. He’s my favorite. Probably because he’s not a vampire. He’s the comedic relief, but also the boy wonder and I appreciate him for all he is.
So…moral of the story: This is a good series. But there are elements that are cliche and cheesy. There are chauvinistic parts. There are feminist parts. It’s a mixed bag. But I like it and am glad that I revisited it. The best part is that it takes place in Chicago. The familiar landmarks make it a mini-vacation for me, and thus, irresistible.