Aug 28, 2012

Posted by in Reviews | 11 Comments

Review: Biting Cold by Chloe Neill (Chicagoland Vampires #6)

Urban Fantasy
August 7 2012
Trade Paperback
337 pages
New American Library
Received from publisher

Kick Ass Chick – Merit

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.


Biting Cold is the sixth book in Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series and I have not been shy about saying that this was a “last chance for this series” read for me.  You see, back at the very end of book four, the author did something to a pretty important character that some called gusty and some called stupid.  I was feeling some of column A and some of column B but leaning a bit more towards B.  I was shocked and a little disappointed; even though I just knew that eventually all would be fixed.  This turn of events that the author introduced in book four made some people stop reading the series all together – that’s how serious it was.  I decided that I would give it another chance and read book five.

Well, book five did indeed fix things but it just wasn’t a strong enough book to really make me get over my discontent, but at the same time it wasn’t horrid enough that it made me think I was done with this series.  So I figured I would give the series one more chance to make me fall for the series again.  I mean, the first three books are on my favorite list and I adore the main heroine, Merit.  I hate the idea of not reading about her ever again but I also am not a fan of constantly feeling frustrated or let down while reading a Chicagoland Vampires book.  So that brings us to here and now:  I have read the sixth book.  Were there parts that frustrated me?  Yup.  But did I enjoy the book more than it pissered me off?  Yes.  Very much so.

I love Merit.  I always have liked her character; she is impeccably written.  She is strong, smart, sassy, loyal and incredibly human – even though she is a vampire.  She is going through some pretty difficult stuff in this book and she handles it really well.  She is the sort of character you would totally want to hang out with and she’s the sort of character you cheer on in every installment.  She has grown so much in this series, going from a resentful and slightly lost girl to a strong and kick ass woman.  Seriously, she is amazing.

Ethan.  Ethan is also a good character…but he’s an idiot and the cause of my ‘major frustration’ moment with this book.  He is strong, he is sexy, he is intelligent and the scene where he speaks to the members of his House was amazing.  He is great at his job – an amazing leader.  It’s just too bad he’s a boob sometimes.

In the previous book we find out that Mallory, Merit’s BFF, has been dabbling in places where she really shouldn’t have been dabbling.  We know that this book will be the continuation of that story line but it wasn’t all that this book was about.  I was very happy for that because I felt that if Mallory took up too much of the book then Merit might fall into ‘woe is me my BFF is a bit nuts at the moment’ territory and I just didn’t want to see her character diminished to that.  Heck, she didn’t even go there in the last book and she totally could have.  I think Chloe did a great job keeping that plot line under control, giving readers just enough to add drama but not enough to aggravate.

Where the story ended up going surprised me but in a good way.  A character that was seen as evil in past books is finally explained and he turns out being very compelling.  I wouldn’t mind seeing him again in future books.

Now let’s vent chat about the part of the story that made me question my giving this book a try.  My Goodreads friends were witness to my reaction to this part of the book when I used my status update to vent a little bit.  My exact quote was:  “Really Ethan? AGAIN?! This is no longer fun. I am officially p*ssed off now…”  The reason why this particular turn of events in this book brought out such a strong reaction is that we have seen this exact thing before in this series.  Watching Ethan and Merit’s ‘not-really-on-again-not-really-off-again’ relationship was fun in the first three books then…not.  By book six, you would think that these two would figure out where the hell they are going to end up.  Either get together or don’t – it’s that simple.  It’s not fair to your readers to string them along for books and books only to see the hero push the heroine away AGAIN, using some asinine excuse similar to one he’s used before.  Suck it up dude because you are now the type of man women want to throw off a cliff.  Twice.  It’s not fun to read these parts of the story anymore when sh*t like that keeps happening.  Yes, I understand that the six books take place over less than a year but still, think of your devoted readers.  There is a difference between bringing passion out from your readers and P*ssing them off.   When I wrote my status update on Goodreads, I got comments on a few pages linked to that book, tweets from frustrated readers and emails agreeing with me.  Yes, (tiny spoiler but not really here) things seem to be going onto the right track by the end of the book but no one truly trusts that this is it this time because it has happened so many times before, then Ethan becomes a boob and it all goes to sh*t.  I am giving the author a chance to prove to us that the Merit/Ethan ping-pong game is now over.  I don’t mean make things all roses and gumdrops for them: I just mean to please let them have an adult relationship from now on because they are, you know, grownups!  If we wanted to read about high school drama, we would read YA.  Believe it or not though, even though this scene and the few after it did cause me to be majorly ticked off, I did find the parts around it to be very well done, drawing me into the story and making me want to know what would happen next.

So, did Biting Cold save the series for me?  Mostly yes.  I was leaning towards giving this book 5 stars until the ‘kerfuffle’ occurred and I will definitely be reading the next book, House Rules, releasing February 5th 2013.  I would like to think that Ethan is over his head being shoved up his a** and I really do like Chloe’s writing voice and Merit.  I am about 80% back to rediscovering my love for this series.  Hopefully the next book will bring it back to 100%.

4 stars

Giggle worthy quotes

“’I’ve also met Claudia, the queen.’

Paige’s eyes widened.  ‘You met the queen of the fairies?’

I nodded, thinking of the tall, curvaceous, strawberry blond woman.  ‘During Ethan’s unfortunate demise.  We were looking for the cause of the sky turning red.  They’re known as the sky masters, so we paid them a visit.  They gave us a little information, I nearly bit one of them, and yadda yadda yadda, we learned they had nothing to do with the color change.’

‘You can’t yadda yadda yadda nearly biting a fairy,’ Paige said.”


“’You know what I need?’ I asked.

‘A chocolate fountain?’ Ethan suggested.  ‘A complete paper set of the Encyclopedia Britannica?  A lifetime supply of grilled meat?’

‘I like all those ideas, but I was thinking a magical spray I can use on Mallory to wash the crazy off her.’

‘Like Lysol for evil?’ Paige asked.

‘Something like that, yeah.’”

Books in the Chicagoland Vampires series –
Some Girls Bite
Friday Night Bites
Twice Bitten
Hard Bitten
Drink Deep
Biting Cold
House Rules (February 2013)

  1. I’ve been having similar feelings about this series. The first 3 books rocked and then… I still plan on reading Biting Cold but it’s no longer a top priority. I’ll get to it when I get to it and hope that it doesn’t disappoint like its predecessors have. I’m happy to hear that you almost gave it 5 stars. That’s encouraging!

  2. I wanted to wait and read as many reviews as I could before I buy this book. I will probably buy it during a really slow and boring week or when the new book release week is poor lol. Her books are a little higher in cost and spending that much for an Ebook hurts especially when I have been unhappy the way the books have been going. Thanks for the honest review, with all the blogger bullying that reviewers are experiencing now I admire honest reviews.

  3. Yep, overall I agree. I definitely wanted to kick Ethan in this one. I think the next issues are going to come from Merit though (you know they are still going to have issues…there are still 4 books left.) I think Jonah is going to come into play somewhere here….and the RG. Another great review! smiles….

  4. So I’m not alone; I was p…ed too at that point and just figured: grow up! but I will give the next one a chance to show us that he has indeed grown up…

  5. *Nods head in agreement* I’m right there with you. I’m an Ethan fan from way back, and his relationship is just frustrating! I mean even Barrons & Mac got together by book 5!

  6. LOL. Great review Julie. You nailed it. I was disappointed with this one for the very same reasons!

  7. Carmel – It really was a great read until ‘the incident’. And it was a great read after too. It’s just during that made me curse like a sailor. lol

    Vicki – “I will probably buy it during a really slow and boring week or when the new book release week is poor lol” LOL Sounds like a plan. And I am always honest with my reviews – and I’ll give reasons why I feel the way I do. That way you can decide for yourself! 🙂

    Christi – I see some jealousy on Ethan’s part about Jonah and about her ‘hiding’ things…but yes, definitely won’t be a picnic but at least keep them together!!!

    Diane – Nope. Definitely not alone lol. And grow up indeed. 😉

    Colette – I LOVE that! Yes, even Mac and Barrons!!! LOL

    Jen – Thanks! I have high hopes for book seven. Seven is a good number to turn things around, right? lol

  8. I haven’t read this one yet and I’m a little afraid to. I’m tired of the on-again-off-again and I don’t know of I can handle Ethan being a dumbass again. But… I live up to my name and I’m curious to see how it all unfolds. 🙂

  9. Great review Julie, and I am glad you are almost back to loving the series again.

  10. After infamous book 4th I gave up on this series… I’m not sure I want to read more… maybe if book 7th is really good I’ll give it another chance but I’m not sure.
    Great review.

  11. I was totally intrigued after reading this review and decided I needed to check this series out. I’ve never been led astray by your recommendations – I absolutely love Ilona Andrews and Jeanieine Frost – so I figured I’d like Chloe Neill, too. And did I ever like these! You are so right, Merit is fabulous! I love the snark and sarcasm in the dialogue. It’s how real people talk. I love the references to pop culture. I like the “world” Neill has built for this series.
    Last night I got to the end of book four and the “big bad”. WTF?!?! I was bawling in bed and saying “NO!No way!” (freaking out the dogs) at 2am.
    If I can get so attached to a character and a series, there is no way I’m putting it down, so I have to continue. I know you’ve said things are getting fixed, so I hope my heart and Merit’s are a little unbroken soon.
    Thanks for turning me on to so many great authors!

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