Title: Hard Bitten
Author: Chloe Neill
Series: Chicagoland Vampires #4
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Paranormal fantasy, Vampires
Publisher: New American Library
5th sentence, 74th page: What kind of black magic are we talking?
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 Cadogan House with protest signs they could exchange for pitchforks at any moment. Inside, things between Merit and her Master, green-eyed heartbreaker Ethan Sullivan, are… tense. 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 an underground vamp group that may have some inside intel on the attack. Merit soon finds herself in the dark, heady heart of Chicago’s supernatural society – a world of vampires who seem ready to fulfill the protesting humans’ worst fears, and a place where she’ll learn that you can’t be a vampire without getting a little blood on your hands…
The ending of Hard Bitten shocked me in a way that no other book has – Neill did something to her main character that I have always wanted to do in my own work. The amazingly unpredictable finish to this story made me grab for the next book immediately – I just couldn’t believe that Neill would actually do that in her story. But, I digress, you’ll just have to read this book yourself to gain a true understanding of how amazingly potent and powerful a finale Hard Bitten had.
The first three books in this series focused mainly on Merit and Ethan’s relationship and their work together. The constant push and pull of their attraction and their fight for their people. However, throughout Hard Bitten, Merit is primarily acting on her own and autonomously of Ethan. Revisiting her independence and ability to hold her own throughout her actions was refreshing, and helped to further endear this uniquely loveable vampire to me.
It is in Hard Bitten that Merit truly embraces her place as Sentinel for Cadogan house and her place amongst the fellow vampires. She finally finds the place in which she truly belongs and becomes comfortable in her new body. Something that we all ultimately strive to achieve – a sense of belonging in a chaotic world.