*This review contains some spoilers for Some Girls Bite and Friday Night Bites.*
[Chicagoland Vampires 3]
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.
Twice Bitten, by Chloe Neil, is the third book in the Chicagoland Vampire series. I have been a fan of her books since her first book, Some Girls Bite, appeared on the shelves. The second book, Friday Night Bites, left the reader following Merit to a secret meeting with the mysterious RG, and this is precisely where Twice Bitten picks up the story.
One of the main themes in Chloe’s books is animosity. As the characters and plot lines develop, we learn about the animosity between houses, the animosity between shifters and vampires, and the animosity between those that rule and those that are ruled. I love how Chloe is able to cut through the negativity simply because one character won’t buy into it. If only one side is holding the grudge, the reader sees that side as immature.
Through her use of vivid language the settings and characters come alive. Chloe understands how to make her words work for her without becoming overly verbose.
In this installment, Merit, the protagonist, is coming into her power. She is learning about herself, and what it means to be re-made into vampire. It may be more accurate to say that she is unlearning about her human limitations under the tutelage of master vampire and love interest, Ethan Sullivan. She really owned herself in this book. This part of her character was great to see. Although she had every right to be snarky, (must read it to find out why), she chose to behave in a most adult fashion. I feel like my girl’s grown-up.
Ethan’s character also undergoes some growth, although it feels like the old, “one step forward, two steps back” adage. He still suffers serious self-doubt. Will he be able to reconcile the perceived conflicts between his responsibilities as the Master of Cadogan House and the strong emotions he feels towards Merit? Will he ever learn that caring for another is not a weakness?
Mallory is still in her internship and her sorcery powers are growing stronger. When we last left, Mallory and Merit had a huge argument and hurt feelings were not yet smoothed. The separation between Mallory and Merit was integral to both the characters learning about themselves, and how to cope with all the changes that have happened to both of them. I found it ironic that the reason they argued was ultimately the same reason that brought them back together.
Shifters play a major role in this book and the reader comes to know more about Gabriel Keene. He is the Apex for all shifters and this book focuses on the shifter’s conference being held in Chicago. With the way things were left at the end of Twice Bitten, we will be sure to see more of Gabe in the future. Perhaps the animosity between shifters and vampires can begin to heal.
Sorry readers, but only a short scene with Morgan, and he seems as immature as ever when it comes to matters of emotion, though he does make strides when dealing with Ethan.
One of the things I appreciate with Chloe’s books is that plots are developed fluently and as some draw to a close, others are opened and expanded.
• We had a love interest plot that started in book 1, between Merit and Morgan, which concluded in book 2.
• In the 2nd book, we had the shifter conference plot line introduced, which was brought to a close in book 3.
• We still have Celina “out there” from books 1 & 2.
• We were introduced to RG as a concept in book 2 which has been expanded in book 3 and will most definitely have an appearance in future books.
• Now we have a new plot line, which I can’t reveal else I spoil, that will involve the shifting community at the end of book 3.
I as a reader feel like I have resolution at the same time I am left wanting the next bit of story so I can figure out the next plot. Chloe does a superb job of intricately weaving the plots and giving the reader just enough hints to make it to the next book.
Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland vampire world is interesting, entertaining and full of witty dialogue. I highly recommend Twice Bitten be a permanent addition to your bookshelf.