Author: Chloe Neill (author website)
Release Date: November 1st 2011
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
I've long been a fan of Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampires. The funny, relatable heroine, the very-human vampires, the utter obsession with food—all combine to create a world I love coming home to. We're six books in now, and I've been there all along—but Biting Cold and I didn't get off to a good start. I thought it was going through the motions, plodding along; meanwhile, it kept telling me to sit down, shut up, and buckle up for the ride.
I hate being told what to do.
It's funny how that works out, because it always so happens that it's best when I comply.
Clouds are brewing over Cadogan House, and Merit the vampire can't tell if this is the darkness before the dawn, or the calm before the storm. With the city itself in turmoil over paranormals and the state threatening to pass a paranormal registration act, times have never been more precarious for the vampires. If only they could lay low for a bit...Then magic rears its ugly head when Lake Michigan turns black. The mayor insists it's nothing to worry about, but Merit knows a panic is coming. She'll have to turn to friends old and new to find out who's behind this, and stop them before it's too late for both the vampires and humans.
It's been a long wait between Drink Deep and Biting Cold for me—a year or more—but time has not passed in Chicagoland, picking up immediately following the conclusion of Drink Deep. This is not a book for newcomers, nor is it easy to write a review on the back of the series' last installment (especially given potential for spoilers). With five books of complex politics, training, and infuriating, addicting, stop/start romance, Merit's back, as are the rest of the gang—the good and the bad. And the very, very bad.
Tasked with tracking down a threat not just to her vampire-family, Cadogan House, or even her city, but the entire world's continued existence, we join Merit—graduate-student turned-reluctant-vampire—on route to secure a magical book that could prove the key to halting the world's destruction. And “halt” is a word long-time Chicagolanders will learn to hate by the time Biting Cold is through. The blurb of Biting Cold tells as much as I have so far, but what you may not know is that you're looking at a mere third of the novel, and it's safety off, brake lines cut the rest of the way through.
Much of Biting Cold's action happens in its final chapters, but there is more than one kind of action. Whether it's sparring, bickering, eating 'mallocakes' (marshmallow filled, chocolate covered cakes, people!) or navigating the dangerous pathways of local and international politics—both human and those of a dangerous vampire Grand Poobah—there is never time for rest in this world. There is, occasionally, some time for other bed-bound activities, and fans will get their share of such carnal delights here, making Biting Cold the steamiest installment of the series so far. Finally.
On the topic of 'finallies' Neill offers more than a few of them, providing resolution and satisfaction in a number of key relationships, and—one of those most fulfilling points of all—long awaited answers. Specifically on the question of one of Chicagoland's longest-standing riddles: ex-mayor of Chicago, the enigmatic Seth Tate.
Despite all this, I do hesitate to call Biting Cold action-packed. To be fair, well, it is, but for a large chunk, I was waiting, even while watching it happen. The complicated entanglements in Neill's Chicagoland world are infuriating, stopping before they start, and they continue, here. While I can see the players moving towards their finales and happily-ever-afters, the series is hardly changing down gears, or moving towards a conclusion—Neill is not done yet. This was a book made, for me, by its thrilling final chapters, each of which left me a breathless, crazed mess. I keep finding myself staring off into space, daydreaming about Merit and her pals and itching for more. Well. Just as well House Rules is already on its way to my Kindle.
Biting Cold, I'm sorry I doubted you, darling.
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