Book Review: Chloe Neill’s Biting Cold

Posted September 4, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Young Adult readers

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Chloe Neill’s Biting Cold

Biting Cold


Chloe Neill

urban fantasy in Paperback edition that was published by New American Library (NAL) on August 7, 2012 and has 337 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Some Girls Bite, Friday Night Bites, Twice Bitten, Hard Bitten, Firespell, Hexbound, Drink Deep, Charmfall, House Rules, Biting Bad, Kicking It, Blood Games, The Veil, Midnight Marked, Dark Debt, The Sight, Blade Bound, The Hunt

Sixth in the Chicagoland Vampires urban fantasy series about Merit and Ethan of Cadogan House in Chicago.

Read with caution. I’m so irritated that I’ve left some spoilers in…

In 2012, Biting Cold was nominated for the Goodreads Choice for Best Paranormal Fantasy.

My Take

Well. It was better than the last story, Drink Deep. Which actually isn’t saying much. The ending on this makes me hopeful that whatever is next in this series will be better. We hope.

Falling back on the tired hack’s old reliable to drum up tension by having Ethan do the “oh, I can’t possibly be with you” dance” without having any good reasons. Talk about l-a-m-e. Then a repeat with the Queen of the Fae. View Spoiler » Heck, at this rate, Neill won’t need to write any more books. We can just look up the formula.

It was somewhat interesting with evil Mallory. Neill could have spent some time punching this up and making her seem truly evil with her painful desire, but that was obviously too much trouble. It’s only irritating the way Neill has depicted Mallory. Couldn’t be bothered to put the time in on making Mallory truly conflicted. Instead, she’s just “so what?”

Then there’s Mallory’s “punishment”. Oh. Brother. Oh, yeah, I’m just weepin’ in mah beer. Gag. View Spoiler » Gimme a break. Again. Neill just isn’t willing to put the work in to make a great story. As for Mallory, I’m going to hope that Neill’s plan is to punish her in the next. And stop punishing her readers.

Then when Neill tries to up the drama and tension with the GP and Darius about Cadogan House. Yeah, I was furious about it, but the anger was totally tempered by my frustration with this story. Part of me just didn’t care. Not a good state for a reader. Or for an author wanting to sell her books.

Admittedly, I’m being rather prejudiced against Neill at the moment, which is why I’m hoping I’m not being pissy about the surprise reveal View Spoiler » It was rather ingenious, if awfully convenient.

One truly positive series of events are how the other supernaturals throughout the city are coming to support the vampires. Even the fairies see Cadogan House as someone to protect.

Overall, I’m disappointed. Again. The only ray of hope is Cadogan House’s decision at the end, although I did enjoy virtually eating the food at Little Red’s.

The Story

The Order has screwed up and Mallory is on the run, seeking the Malificium. She’s not the only one, for Seth Tate is also after the book.

Between them, the good guys haven’t a chance.

The Characters

Merit became a vampire the night she was attacked. No, not by her attacker. Her rescuer. Now she’s the Sentinel of Cadogan House and responsible for its and Ethan’s safety.

Merit’s grandfather, Chuck Merit, was the city’s supernatural Ombudsman until the new mayor fired him. Working with him besides Catcher, were Jeff Christopher, a computer whiz and werewolf, and Marjorie as admin.

Ethan Sullivan is the acting master of Cadogan House. He may have returned from the dead, but it doesn’t mean that the GP will reinstate him. Malik is the official Master. Cadogan House. Think of it as a clubhouse, a frat house for vampires. Margot is the house chef. Luc is House Second, Kelley is the current guard captain, Juliet and Lindsey are House Guards,

Jonah is captain of the guards of Chicago’s Grey House and was Merit’s partner after Ethan died. He’s also part of “the Red Guard, a secret organization that keeps an eye on vampire Masters and the Greenwich Presidium (GP), the British Council that rules” vampires. He’s still Merit’s RG partner. Darius West is the head of the GP and furious with Cadogan House. Charlie is his majordomo and has faxed a very particular (and long) hospitality rider of Darius’ requirements.

Noah Beck leads the un-Housed vampires in Chicago and is a member of the Red Guard. Lacey Sheridan is Master of Sheridan House; Morgan is Master of Navarre House House; and Scott Grey of Grey House.

Gabriel Keene is “the head of the Apex of the North American Central Pack of shifters”. He’ll take charge of Mallory since the Order obviously can’t. Their unofficial headquarters is Little Red, a bar in Ukranian Village run by Berna.

Mallory Carmichael was(?), is(?), Merit’s best friend. Then she found her magic and let it go to her head and tried to burn down Chicago, searching for the cure to her pain. Catcher is a sorcerer, exiled from the Order, and has been Mallory’s boyfriend and teacher. Now? He’s not so sure. He also works for Merit’s grandfather. Or he did.

Diane Kowalcyzk is Chicago’s new mayor. And absolutely clueless. She thinks Tate is innocent! McKetrick is a Chicago-based vampire hater who will stop at nothing to take them down. Paulie Cermak was Tate’s protégé. Seth Tate was the mayor of Chicago until he was discovered running a drug ring. He has powers no one has ever seen before and it turns out he and his twin are both angels. Tate is the good while Dominic is a Dark One, his opposite. And Dominic has an obsession with Justice.

Todd and Keith are the potty-mouthed gnomes who try to help. I think their plaids and stripes could’a done the trick.

The Order is a union of sorcerers who were responsible for keeping Mallory imprisoned and keeping the Malificium safe. Seems they need a good shake-up. Simon Baumgartner is the head of the Order and I suspect he needs to retire as he’s screwing up right and left. Paige Martin is the disillusioned recorder of Order history and is the sorceress currently tasked with keeping the book safe.

Claudia is the fairy queen and her guards are worried about her with Dominic on the

The Cover and Title

The cover is all blues with a bite of red in the title. It’s Merit in jeans and leather with her katana on her back, standing at a crossroads just outside the nightlit city of Chicago. The land surrounding the city is flatter than a pancake with a view that could go on forever. It’s a good cover as Merit and Ethan, Mallory, and Cadogan House are all at a crossroads.

As for the title, well, it was Biting Cold in Nebraska where they went to rescue the book.