Hard Bitten by C. Neill – Spoiler Edition

Hard BittenIf you haven’t started the Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill, then you don’t know what you’re missing. Neill is such a fantastic storyteller that it is so easy to get lost, and invested, in the story of her characters that no one should be able to walk away disappointed. Each novel keeps getting better and better and Hard Bitten will not only prove that, but I can guarantee that it will illicit very strong emotions in the reader – especially fans of the series.

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…

In Some Girls Bite, Neill doesn’t just give us a story about a girl who was suddenly changed into a vampire, but of a girl who was changed without consent, one who doesn’t just lay down and accept it. Neill has shown that she’s not afraid of pushing the boundaries and that is even more defined with Hard Bitten. That very idea is the one thing that has stood out for me with this novel. No matter what I think is going to happen, it never does and generally it’s the exact opposite. I can honestly say that I’ve never felt like throwing a book across the room because of something I’ve just read, but I totally had that impulse with Hard Bitten. It’s wasn’t because the story was bad or Merit just does something stupid; no, it was so totally unexpected that I can’t think of another author who has done something like this, so early in the series. I cannot wait until next week, when everyone has finally gotten their hands on Hard Bitten, so I can finally express all of my frustration, worry, concern, eagerness that will be present until Drink Deep is released in November.

Honestly, the Chicagoland Vampires are fabulous creatures. They have such a wide range of emotion and personality that you never know what you’re going to get. I can tell you there’s a side of a certain character that we were just introduced to that I wasn’t expecting. I know I keep saying that, but for fans of Jonah, you’re going to be happy with his presence. When he first showed up on the scene, I didn’t think we would see a lot of him; however, he has quite the interaction with Ethan that proves we haven’t seen the last of him yet.

Overall, there’s nothing much I can say about Hard Bitten that fans of the series don’t already know. Nonetheless, Neill does it again and delivers a story that exceeds all expectations. Not only is there some fabulous chemistry between all the characters, but the future is definitely left in question and I don’t know what to expect. I never would have expected the ending and that’s what I’m fixated on. Even reading Hard Bitten two months ago, I can still remember vividly what I was doing when I read the last page and I’m still thinking about it. I’m still obsessing over the events. For me, that marks a fantastic book and everyone should read it. Trust me when I say this, take an extra long lunch or take the whole day off, because when Hard Bitten comes out on Tuesday, you’re not going to be able to put it down.

Read Order:
Some Girls Bite
Friday Night Bites
Twice Bitten
Hard Bitten
Drink Deep (Nov. 2011)

Also Reviewed By: Rex Robot Reviews, Book Addict, Mystifying Paranormal Reviews and Mysteriousrose

— SPOILERS BELOW — SPOILERS BELOW — SPOILERS BELOW —

Before I go into it, are you sure you want to read this?  C’mon now, I don’t want to hear later that I totally spoiled this for you.  It’s that big of a spoiler, so if you don’t want to know, then click away now.  Are you still here?  You’re sure?  Alright then, I tried warning you so don’t go crying later that I ruined it for you.

What. The. Fuck. She killed Ethan!!  It’s the fourth book of the series and Neill goes and kills the one vampire that totally twists Merit up?  I don’t get it.  I really don’t.  He’s the whole reason Merit and Morgan didn’t work out.  Granted, I don’t think Morgan would have lasted long anyway – he’s still screwed up with the whole Celina angle, well not any more, but still.  I seriously emailed Chloe as soon as I finished and asked if she was serious.  *grin*  I mean really?  Who kills off one of the main characters so early in a series.  We’re only on book four!  Thankfully, I was told to have faith and that all would be explained later.  She didn’t necessarily say the explanation would come in Drink Deep, but she didn’t say it wouldn’t be there either.  Tricky author.  *grin*

The last page, where Merit is having the dream about Ethan, something tells me that is a little foreshadowing.  I’m thinking we’re going to see a lot more of Mallory and her magic, and the fact that Ethan did take a stake (sacrificing himself) for Merit, might make things interesting later on.

I do have to say that I can’t wait for things to get interesting with Jonah.  OMG.  *squee*  That whole fight scene between Jonah and Ethan at Grey House was fantastic.  I didn’t think Jonah was getting those kind of feelings for Merit, but hot damn.

Ethan’s death also brings up the possibility of Merit actually joining the Red Guard now. Ethan was the reason she wasn’t going to leave the house on its own.  Well, I’m sure she wouldn’t want to leave Luc, Lindsey and all her other friends in the lurch too, but her constant excuse was all Ethan.  Now that he isn’t he master, is she going to have the same commitment to Malik?  She doesn’t know Malik all that much, at least we don’t.

What does everyone else think?

About Jackie 3207 Articles

I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.

4 Comments

  1. My thought is this: she’s committed to killing this character. If she brings him back, it will feel like cheating–like she’s just used his death for the shock value. As much as I HATE the fact Ethan is dead, I really hope she doesn’t pull a “Gotcha!” and bring him back.

  2. I was so glad that Chloe had told people to trust her and was giving out hugs before I finished the book. I knew something huge and bad would happen so my reaction wasn’t as strong as some people’s. I do trust her, and I don’t think she killed Ethan off for good. On her forum someone pointed out the prophecy about the green eyes like Ethan’s but not and even more intriguing was the reminder of the tattoo on Ethan’s thigh that Merit saw in the first book.

    It reminded me of Lilith Saintcrow’s Dante Valentine series and what happens in the first two (or second two, I can’t remember) books. I won’t get into it and cause my own spoilers, but if anyone else has read them I’m curious if they think the situations are similar. Not a bad thing–just proof that these things can be handled in an amazing way.

    I hope Merit does join the RG. And if Ethan does happen to come back, I don’t think he’d be upset if he found out. He turned out to be very understanding and how many times did he say he trusts her? He knows she’s going to be important and encouraged her to do what she felt was needed.

  3. Hard Bitten made me cry. It was like when Kim Harrison killed off Kisten. I cried both times I read that book. Chloe has me hooked, so I will keep reading the series.

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