Monday, January 2, 2012

REVIEW: Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill

Some Girls Bite 
by Chloe Neill (website)
Book One of the Chicagoland Vampire series
Released: 05.07.2009
341 pages
Publisher: NAL Trade - Penguin Group
Source: library

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 (from GoodReads).

REVIEW: Okay, bear with me.  I find it difficult to review urban fantasy and paranormal romance with as much detail as I do YA fiction, but here's trying.  Some Girls Bite was gratuitous escapism.  SEXY, FUN and FUNNY gratuitous escapism.  Upon finishing book one, I immediately sought out books two and three.  Hey, I like me a good dose of escapist fun.

I mean, c'mon.  Let's be honest.  If you read fang lit, then it's highly likely that you daydream (okay, fantasize) about one of two things:

  1. You want to become a vampire (or other supe) -OR-
  2. You wouldn't mind being seduced by one
Our heroine, Merit (aka that lucky bitch), just got BOTH options fulfilled, and does she appreciate them?  Um, hell no!  Master Vamp Ethan (hummina-hummina) finds Mer bleeding from a bad-vamp inflicted neck wound.  Rather than let the 27-year old die, he changes her.  She whineswhineswhines about how her 'life' as a Ph.D. student at the University of Chicago specializing in medieval lit is over since fanged ones are not allowed to study at universities.  She feels her unjustified changing at Ethan's hands most grievously.  Mer, sweetheart, I'd like to quote a line here from Good Will Hunting:
". . .  you're gonna come up with the fact that there are two certaintees in life. One, don't do that. And two, you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a fuckin education you coulda got for a dollah fifty in late chahges at the public library."
Seriously, Merit.  You have the rest of your immortal life to study medieval lit - you don't need to go to university to do that.  And the market for professors in that area blows.  AND you just got permanent vamp protection and employment FOR-EH-VER!  Suck it up.  Things could be worse.  You could be dead.

Mer's little tirades on this matter aside, she's a fun quirky character who moans and makes the best of her initiation into the supernatural world in equal parts.  Her reluctant acceptance is both amusing and exasperating, but with the addition of other fun characters, Some Girls Bite makes for an enjoyable read.  Neill shines with her dialogue, and the banter between Merit and her BFF, Mallory, is very funny and fast-paced.  Catcher and Ethan are MAN CANDY, and I'm not talking supermarket aisle candy - this is the good stuff.  We're talking Godiva.  Particularly Catcher (nom nom nom).  Between the quirk and sexy, this a a read that I think fans of Gilmore Girls will enjoy.

This is definitely UF-light, and by that, I mean the book simply doesn't read as seriously as a book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Fever or Midnight Breeders series.  There are nods here and there to other series through references and characters with the same names or backgrounds.  It's decent, fun writing, although I occasionally found myself rewriting sentences so they read better.   Merit lacks the maturity I'd expect from someone her age, but the mix of fun characters, funny exchanges and the building romantic tension between Merit and Ethan (and Morgan - teeheehee) means I started on book two fairly soon after finishing this one (I'm a sucker for UF series).  While this book isn't gourmet, it is a good, sexy break from my ordinary fare.  Kind of like a pan of Chicago deep dish.  


“That was a mistake," I said.  "It shouldn’t have happened."
He wet his lips, then ran a hand across his jaw.  "No?" 
Silence, then, "I could offer you more.”
I blinked, looked up, met his eyes.  "What?”
"Power. Access. Rewards. You’d need be available only to me.”
My lips parted, words momentarily failing me, the shock of it was so overwhelming.  "Are you asking me to be your mistress?”
He paused, and I had the sense that he was deciding if that was, in fact, what he was offering me.  Likely weighing the costs and benefits, deciding if easing his erection was worth the trouble I'd cause.  A flush crossed his sculpted cheekbones.  "Yes.”
"Oh, my God.” I dropped my gaze put a hand at my abdomen, wondering how this night had suddenly become so bizarre.  "Oh, my God."
"Is that a yes?”
I looked up at him again, saw the flash of panic on his face.  "No, Ethan, Jesus. Definitely not.” 
-page 113

"But he's young!  What is he, twenty-eight?"
"He's twenty-nine.  And what did you think he was going to look like?"
She shrugged.  "You know - old.  Grizzled.  Long white beard.  Scruffy robes.  Lovable.  Smart, but a little absentminded professorish."
I bit back a grin.  "I said 'sorcerer,' not 'Dumbledore.'  So he's hot."
-Merit and Mallory on Catcher, page 134

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