Biting Cold by Chloe Neill read by Sophie Eastlake
Neill’s latest installment of her Chicagoland Vampires series wastes no time picking up where Drink Deep left off. Fans of Merit and her supporting sups will have a little vindication for sticking through the series regardless of it’s ups and downs.
I wouldn’t say Biting Cold has that instant gratification factor. Readers looking for an early romantic reunion will be left wanting. Ethan and Merit seem right back to square one. I felt like Ethan was being a Richard for most of the book and had me longing for more Jonah. After the huge disappointment of losing Ethan, and crazy plots from the past few books, I think Jonah was the most redeeming factor. His minor role in Biting Cold was what was most lacking for me. He’s downgraded to Merit’s backup, and seems on his way to the discarded character pile Neill has been steadily compiling. I suppose Jonah’s character did too good a job filling in for Ethan in his absence because I was really hoping Neill would’ve explored a Jonah+Merit pairing. Part of the problem is that there are so many interesting background players they pull focus from the heroine.
Aside from some slow parts I found Biting Cold to be much better than the last couple of books. There’s lots of action, some political intrigue, and a few new characters. I think all the background and plot lines Neill has laid out over the series is finally paying off. I particularly love how all the supernatural factions are starting to converge and come together. I do find that I get bored with Merit and think at times that other characters are outshining her. I wouldn’t mind multiple POVs or a spinoff based on Mallory and what she’s going through, or even Fallon. Merit’s character isn’t growing or being challenge in interesting ways like some of her supporting cohorts. She’s circling the problems and challenges, I really wish Neil would start moving Merit’s character in new directions like she’s doing with Mallory. She’s just not as interesting anymore.
I started listening to the audio version of this series a few books back because I just couldn’t get into the books. Normally when an audiobook series has it’s narrator switched after five books, it’s a disaster. Fortunately Sophie Eastlake is an excellent reader. Her voice and performance is a lot like Cynthia Holloway which also makes the transition painless.
Biting Cold doesn’t stray too far from the series’ footprint. A frustrating romance: check, snarky banter: check, action and sword fighting: double check. Add in the long drawn out descriptions of a diehard Chi-town foodie that could pack on the pounds through the pages and you have a classic Chicagoland Vampires novel. And finally biting has made a breakthrough from the past installments of late, giving readers something to turn those pages for again.