Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars
Note: While this review contains NO SPOILERS for Hard Bitten, it assumes you’ve read Twice Bitten and references events at the end of that novel. If you’re new to the series, see our review of Some Girls Bite.
Some of you may remember me lamenting the third book tradition in Richelle Mead novels, wherein she throws a massive plot curveball which will likely leave you in tears. Apparently Chloe Neill and Richelle Mead are kindred spirits. In this fourth novel in her Chicagoland Vampires series, Neill ups the emotional tension and packs a well-plotted twist that is sure to leave readers gasping.(No spoilers, folks, I won’t tell you what it is. You’re safe.)
After the very public attack on Cadogan House at the end of Twice Bitten, and the subsequent revealation of shifters, even Mayor Tate’s crush on Merit couldn’t stop the guy from freaking out a bit. Concerned about his poll numbers and the “supernatural problem” he — like the press — decided to blame Cadogan House with the mess. He claims there have been more raves, but these with violent deaths for humans. No matter what Merit and Ethan tell him, he’s decided they’re to blame. So, he tells them they have a week to fix the problem or he’s arresting Ethan.
Ethan continues to try and convince Merit to give him another shot. Expect lines that will make you melt. And for Merit to continue to make him work for it. He’s not giving up, and it’s really wonderful to get to see another side of our green-eyed Master.
All the supernatural political drama in Chicago has brought the GP into town to suggest taking over Ethan’s house. Not good. They don’t like Merit involved, and they really don’t want to hear about how Celina is surely involved. Merit’s told she’s not supposed to investigate these new, violent raves and that if Ethan gets arrested, to suck it up.
So, with a wink and a nod from Ethan, she does it on her own. This means more interaction with the Red Guard members, who would still really love her to join. And with that comes keeping secrets from Ethan, which is something Merit really struggles with.
I won’t tell you how it all pans out, but Neill always has a way of increasing the tension. You long to see her characters happy. And we get those moments, but then the real chaos of the situation sets in and we — like Merit — are torn. Expect frustration, excitement, agony and exhilaration in around 350 pages with Hard Bitten. Clever plot twists keep the surprises coming every few chapters, and once again you’ll be wrapped up in Chicago vampire drama, the desire to trust Ethan and a sincere hatred of Celina.
Be brave and start Hard Bitten. Yes, the end will shock you. But it’s worth it.
You’re going to laugh, but I fully gave this review an extra half star because of the torturous twist. I like when things surprise me and that Neill had me so invested as to be so affected by the plot twist says an incredible thing about her storytelling. I’m just going to trust her on this one. She will fix it. I will hold out that hope until Drink Deep hits shelves in November.
Sexual Content: Kissing