Saturday, December 11, 2010

Review/ Twice Bitten/ Chloe Neill/ NAL

Title:  Twice Bitten - A Chicagoland Vampires Novel
Author:  Chloe Neill
Publisher:  NAL
Genre:  Paranormal
Publication Date:  July 6, 2010
Print ISBN: 978-0451230645
eBook ISBN:  978-1101456347
Length:  368 Pages
Format:  Print- Trade Size


Merit, Chicago’s newest vampire, is learning how to play well with others. Other supernaturals, that is. Shapeshifters from across the country are convening in the Windy City, and as a gesture of peace, Master Vampire Ethan Sullivan has offered their leader a very special bodyguard: Merit. Merit is supposed to protect the Alpha, Gabriel Keene—and to spy for the vamps while she’s at it. Oh, and luckily Ethan’s offering some steamy, one-on-one combat training sessions to help her prepare for the mission.

Merit must accept the assignment, even though she knows that she’ll probably regret it. And she’s not wrong. Someone is gunning for Gabriel Keene, and Merit soon finds herself in the line of fire. She’ll need all the help she can get to track down the would-be assassin, but everywhere she turns, there are rising tensions between supernaturals—not least between her and a certain green-eyed, centuries old master vampire.

My Review: 

The Chicagoland Vampire series continues to fascinate me, the characters are fantastic and the dialogue is sharp and witty.  In this installment the shapeshifters have come to Chicago to discuss their immediate future and whether or not they should "come out" to the public.  We also have a turning point in the relationship between newbie vampire Merit and Ethan, her master that takes place.  The plot moves at a good pace and I was completely captivated by the story. 

Merit is continuing to grow as a vampire, she's still somewhat uncomfortable with letting the "vampire" be in charge and is trying to retain as much of her humanity as possible, but she  realizes that in order to do her job as Sentinel for Cadogen house that she has no choice but to improve her skills.  At the beginning of the story her friendship with best friend Mallory is also under a bit of strain from the events that took place in Friday Night Bites (Chicagoland Vampires, Book 2), and she's also dealing with her "break-up" with Morgan, the head of Navarre House and her continued attraction to Ethan Sullivan her vampire master.

Ethan continues to be a contradiction as a vampire master, he's attracted to Merit on a romantic level, yet he continues to put politics and maneuvering above his or Merit's personal needs.  Ethan's backstory is also filled in some more and we also get additional history about Cadogen house and it's power structure.  In an effort to reach out to others and make allies, Ethan agrees to lend Merit's services to Gabrielle Keene, the leader of the North American Shapeshifters.

Gabrielle Keene and the 3 other pack leaders are meeting in Chicago to discuss the immediate and future plans for the Shapeshifter community- do they go home to their hidden base in Alaska or do they come out to humans and possibly ally themselves with the vampires?  I can't say enough about Gabrielle, he's uber sexy and I just loved every scene that he made an appearance in.  We also find out that there are unresolved issues between the vampires and the shapeshifters that have lead to some interesting prejudices amongst members of the two groups, something that they will need to overcome if they become allies.

The plot thickens as several attempts are made to kill Gabrielle prior to and during the shapeshifter meetings, we also see Ethan and Merit grow closer as they protect Gabrielle, which leads to a particular event that finally pushes Merit to mend fences with both Mallory and Catcher, Mallory's sorcerer boyfriend.   The end of the story resolves some of open storyline but leaves several situations open, including Merit and Ethan's relationship and where they will go next.  I have already pre-ordered the next book in this series Hard Bitten: A Chicagoland Vampires Novel.

My Rating:  5 out of 5 crowns