Sometimes you get a book recommended to you by a friend. Sometimes you get the same book recommended by so many people you quickly lose count.
The Chicagoland Vamps falls squarely in the latter category. Lucky for me, I had access to the first three books via my mother and I spent a couple of weeks this month tearing through them. My only regret when I finished the third book was that I don’t have any more. I will hopefully rectify this soon.
The Premise: Yet another “Vamps are out of the coffin” series. In this exploration of that particular scenario, it does not appear that the decision to “out” themselves was a unanimous decision. However, humans now know that vampires are real and the vampires just need to try to make the best of it.
The vampire society comes off a little fraternity/sorority like in this view of vampire nesting. There are “Houses” (only like a dozen in the US) and only the Master of the house can make new vampires. Each year a house may add a dozen new vampires, which seems an awful lot like rushing a sorority to me. If selected, you can choose to live in the House or on your own, but many of the vampires work some sort of job affiliated with the House.
I was never really a fan of the Greek scene at University, so I can’t say as I understand the draw people have to sororities and fraternities. That’s right, I pretty much ignored the whole thing, which mostly seemed like a lot of parties at my school. I could, however, see the benefits of this sort of set up for a vampire nest.
On to the books:
Some Girls Bite
(Chicagoland Vampires #1)
Written by Chloe Neill
First in a brand new series about a Chicago graduate student’s introduction into a society of vampires.
Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it was Merit’s. She was doing fine until a rogue vampire attacked her. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker-and this one decided the best way to save her life was to make her the walking undead.
Turns out her savior was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now she’s traded sweating over her thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan “Lord o’ the Manor” Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed, four-hundred- year-old vampire, he has centuries’ worth of charm, but unfortunately he expects her gratitude- and servitude. But an inconvenient sunlight allergy and Ethan’s attitude are the least of her concerns. Someone’s still out to get her. Her initiation into Chicago’s nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war-and there will be blood.
Sometimes the first book in a series struggles as the author attempts to immerse you in their world. This book did not suffer from that at all. It drops you into the action and you learn right along with the main character.
I like that the main character seems real. She didn’t look for this life, but it happened to her and she tries to make the best of it. She’s just as lost as anyone in her circumstance would be, and I like that. She’s a college student, comfortable surrounded by books while wearing jeans and tees. Now she’s a vampire, guard of her house, and dressing in fancy black clothes. A former dancer, now she’s learning to fight and use a katana.
The mystery: Someone’s attack young women across Chicago, including the main character, Merit. She was lucky that the Master of Cadogan managed to save her from death by changing her into a vampire before she could even give her consent. Is she up to the task of finding her own murderer and stop what could quickly become a reign of fear that might topple the precarious position the vampires created with the PR spin.
Friday Night Bites
(Chicagoland Vampires #2)
Written by: Chloe Neill
The story of a young heiress’s initiation into the dark society of the Chicagoland Vampires continues…
Ten months after vampires revealed their existence to the mortals of Chicago, they’re enjoying a celebrity status usually reserved for the Hollywood elite. But should people learn about the Raves-mass feeding parties where vampires round up humans like cattle-the citizens will start sharpening their stakes.
So now it’s up to the new vampire Merit to reconnect with her upper class family and act as liaison between humans and bloodsuckers, and keep the more unsavory aspects of the vampire lifestyle out of the media. But someone doesn’t want peace between them-someone with an ancient grudge…
In the second book, you learn more about Merit’s past. She’d tried to turn her back on the world of privilege that came at a hefty personal price. Now, she finds herself drawn back into that world in order to save her new world. Can she live through the frustration that dealing with her parents brings? More importantly, can she juggle the social needs while dating the Master of another House or will his jealousy take over?
(Chicagoland Vampires #3)
Written by: Chloe Neill
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, Chicago’s newest vampire. 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.
Unfortunately, someone is gunning for Gabriel, 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.
In the second book, we learned about shifters and that they don’t particularly get along well with the vampires. What’s different? The shifters need to decide if they will stand by their supernatural cousins or attempt to run away and hide in a hope of keeping the existence of shifters out of the public eye. Where else should the shifters gather to meet but the same city where the vampires “came out”?
So the shifters come to Merit’s House to see if she and her Master will provide security and support during the shifter convocation.
Queue epic drama! You have shifter in-fighting, you get good old-fashioned prejudice, you get motorcycles and leather, you get Merit and her Master giving in to the tension between them and the whole of the House knowing.
I loved the world, the characters, and the writing. Definitely check out Chicagoland Vamps!