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Some Girls Bite - Chloe Neill

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Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy / Author: Chloe Neill / Paperback / 368 Pages / Book is published 2010-03-11 by Gollancz

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      08.02.2011 15:12
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      A solid first book in a new series.

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      In a nutshell
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      Merit is a 27 year old student in her third year of her medieval literature doctorate [and three months into her chosen dissertation], as well as working as a teaching assistant at Chicago university. Or at least she was until she walks alone across campus one night only to have her throat ripped out by a vampire.

      This in itself isn't a huge shock as vampires had revealed themselves to the world ten months earlier and three out of the twelve American vampire houses [like a sorority] are in Chicago, making Merit's hometown vamp central. What is a bit of a shock is that instead of being left to bleed to death on campus, Merit is found by the master vampire of Cagogan house - Ethan Sullivan - and he turns her into a vampire to save her life. It turns out that the unknown attacker was a rogue [the public aren't aware of the presence of rogues] and he/she is responsible for previous murders and is trying to frame the Cagogan house vampires.

      So not only is Merit trying to adjust to her new, sun-free, blood drinking life, but she is also right in the middle of a budding war between the vampires and nervous humans. But even that is not her immediate problem; She only has ten days until the Commendation (the initiation ceremony), where she will join Cadogan house and have to swear loyalty and servitude to Ethan, who isn't exactly on her Christmas card list. Of course she can refuse to take part in proceedings, but then she will be classed as a rogue and will have to spend eternity alone.

      So it's time for learning how to stomach A-, decide between Cadogan and a life in isolation, and to study her new reference guide for initiate vampires - the Canon [with chapters including 'Servicing Your Lord'], Not to mention the question of who killed her and why?


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      My opinion
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      I found SOME GIRLS BITE to be a pleasant - if cliche ridden - ride. Not only does Merit make a witty, intelligent yet vulnerable narrator, but Chloe Neill has also set solid foundations into the world building of her alternative version of Chicago and filled it with solid secondary characters, who will also have interesting tales of their own to add to the series.

      The cliches aren't terrible and add to the fun instead of taking it away. It's the same as the first book in any other series; There's a lot of detail for the author to put in, so it's similar to many other books in that respect.


      I really appreciate that as this book is a now-standard first-person narrative Merit isn't some sort of instantaneously super-vamp. Yes, her vampire powers are recognized by other characters as being strong with latent psychic abilities and that one day she will become a master vampire, but she isn't the best of the best at her job right away; She makes bad judgements, doesn't win her first fights and she doesn't have mystical powers developing here, there and everywhere. If she was written as being The Best straight off the bat I think that the character wouldn't hold my interest beyond one or two books.

      I don't want to go into any detail here about the secondary characters as that will spoil some minor plot twists [I'll save that for my reviews of books two and three], but we get to see other supernatural creatures and the other characters all have complicated personal and professional lives of their own - they're not just there as props to fill up the pages. The negative with the book being first-person is that I'd like to know what other characters are thinking, particularly with Ethan.


      There's only one thing that may prove irksome down the line in this series; The romantic subplot. Now I don't mind a bit of romance in my books, but Chloe Neill goes with another genre cliche - multiple love interests, for a added touch of will-she-won't-she suspense. Well, at least I think that's what she was aiming for, but there is one clear winner already and he's so obvious from even the characters first scene that Cupid might as well be knocking Merit upside the head with a brick [I'd play the role of Cupid if she were real]. It only serves to make me take an instant dislike to the other love interest as the ending is clear and he is just delaying the inevitable, so my fingers are crossed that Neill resolves this subplot soon or she may end up dragging down a promising new series.

      Sigh. I've got many incomplete series on my bookcase, because I've quickly gotten bored with the same old "who should I choose?" plot devices [are you listening Charlaine Harris? Sookie better make up her damned mind in the next book and her choice's name better begin with E or the books are joining Laurell K Hamilton, Carrie Vaughn, Yasmine Galenorn and Karen Chance on my dusty top shelves].


      I'm also sceptical about Merit's relationship with her family. She apparently doesn't get on with her money-obsessed, wealthy father and Merit is actually her surname as she refuses to go by her first name [no-one uses it until book three] and so far it all seems like a case of Poor Little Rich Girl to me. Her father does seem hard and cold, but then again that's how she is with him too, so I can see why he isn't exactly showering her with love. It's hinted at that there is a lot more to this particular subplot, so I'm not getting worked up over it. Yet.



      ** Book two in the Chicagoland Vampires series is Friday Nights Bites and book three is Twice Bitten. Book four will be Hard Bitten [released in May] and book five is titled Drink Deep [released in November] **

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