Urban fantasy is where my addiction to reading all began. The genre is sentimental to me like that. And the series, Chicagoland Vampire, is exactly the type of story where my allegiances lie. It has vampires. Lots of them.
If you don’t like vampires, don’t even bother; you won’t like this series. Me? I’m a total sucker for vamps… wolves, fae, and witches too… but vamps I adore because they’re dark, brooding, and most of the time hot as sin!
But Ms. Neill has taken those dark, brooding, hot as sin vamps and wrote into their world a character with a wicked sense of humor, a propensity to find trouble, and a moral compass that points true north. It really sucked for Merit the day she died got turned into a vampire. But then I wouldn’t have such a great world to get lost in and her humor to guide me through it.
Story / Tempo / World
Merit is a 27 year old grad student living in Chicago and sharing a brownstone with her best friend, Mallory. Her life was pretty good, so she thought, until she was attacked one night and it leads to her being changed into a vampire. Vampires have recently outed themselves to the humans. Unfortunately for them, some vampire has been going around attacking girls and killing them – not exactly the kind of attention the vampire community wants right now.
For a first book in a series, we get two stories: we get the backstory on how Merit assimilates into vampire-dom (not exactly well, in my opinion) and the mystery of what vampire is attacking girls and leaving them for dead. Both are very strong but of course it’s the world building that wins out over the plot. But looking back, it’s pretty cool that the mystery/plot of the first book actually leads to part of the world building that will continue throughout the series. No, it’s not just because Merit died, duh! It’s the reason why, the big picture of it all. Do I have you intrigued? I am! I have almost the whole series to date sitting on my desk waiting for me.
As I said earlier, this series is a winner for the fact it has a strong protagonist and voice (Merit is the POV; first person if you want to be technical). But this book has a great balance of action and dialogue and it’s the dialogue between Merit and her supporting characters that really has me speeding through this series. I’d actually be done with this series if I didn’t have other books needing to be read.
Merit’s best friend, Mallory is probably one of my two favorite characters right now. Okay, revise that: one of three. Anyways, Mallory is a totally different person from Merit but she is so much like her that they are perfect best friends. I got completely wrapped up in their relationship like I was friends with them. When I started the book, I really thought Mallory was going to be left behind in Merit’s “old” world. Yeah, not so much :D
My other two favorite characters so far are Merit’s grandfather and Catcher. Although, Catcher’s character hasn’t panned out at all like I was expecting, but I think that’s why I love him so much!!! It’s the unexpected that gets you everytime, I think.
If only I’d known… I would have read this totally awesome, unexpected life sucking (as in can’t put down and do anything else!) of a series sooner…
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