Book Review: Chloe Neill’s Biting Bad

Posted October 25, 2013 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 Bad

Biting Bad


Chloe Neill

urban fantasy in Paperback edition that was published by New American Library (NAL) on August 6, 2013 and has 350 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, Biting Cold, House Rules, Kicking It, Blood Games, The Veil, Midnight Marked, Dark Debt, The Sight, Blade Bound, The Hunt

Eighth in the Chicagoland Vampires urban fantasy series for Young Adults and based in Chicago while revolving around Merit, the young Sentinel for her House of vampires.

My Take

I’m not sure what to say. Partly because I’m concerned that I’m bringing my annoyances from the last few novels over to this one. It’s better than the last two, Biting Cold, 6, and House Rules, 7. I guess I’ll call it mediocre. I know, damning with faint praise.

Where are the police while all this is playing out? What is the newspaper’s response? I find it hard to understand how all this rioting plays out in such a vacuum with only the mayor’s office and McKetrick as the head liaison in the Office of Human Liaison talking about events. There’s one incident with some neighbor ladies which was sweet and a couple boys. That’s it.

The entire incident with the GP? Stupid. Just plain stupid. As for the GP’s grandstanding and Cadogan House’s concerns about how to respond. Why? Why does Cadogan need to even think about responding? They voted themselves out of the vampire union. GP has no say in anything Cadogan does. WTF?

What? I can’t believe Merit just let the Volvo go that easily. Catcher’s concerns about how he let Mallory’s actions slide through under his nose are certainly downplayed. Just another example of dramatic possibilities being ignored. Merit’s incident at Grey House? Stupid. I can’t see her making that simple of a mistake. Although I did enjoy all the teasing she got later.

Can someone explain to me why Monmouth is calling Merit garbage?

Then there’s the ending. It’s what we all want to have happen. But this easily?? Again. WTF? Is anybody editing this for silliness? They certainly aren’t editing for info dumps. Lord, they’re scattered every other paragraph. I feel like I’m stepping around land mines in Eastern Europe. Pssst, if anyone needs examples of info dumps, read this. You’ll stumble over ’em everywhere…

Wow, when the truth behind the riots comes out, you’d think wow, great opportunity for drama, tension. And you’d be right. Obviously, Neill didn’t think so. Has she no respect for her target audience’s intellect?

All of a sudden the police are playing nice? What’s with that?

Now for the nice things I can say: Gabe’s “prank” on Ethan? Too funny, and it’s one way to get a better parking spot! I loved the build-up Merit gave Mallory at the start of the story to scare off the bullies.

It’s cute and sweet with Merit and Ethan all lovey-dovey and pranks being played. Then there’s the other side with hatred and bigotry…and Merit’s father wanting in on the action. I’m not even going to mention all the loose threads. For one, there are too many. For another, well, someone has to put the tension into this story.

The Story

Just when you think it’s safe to walk the streets, riots will bring you back to reality. It’s a scary reality when humans are out to get you. Nor do they care if they hit their target precisely, which means Chicago itself is at risk.

It could be even more at risk when Mallory can’t resist testing her magic to help out.

The Characters

Merit is a newly turned vampire — she’s been a vampire for 10 months now — who is the Sentinel of her House. Its ultimate guardian. Moneypenny is a 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL with a history. Robert and Charlotte are her still-human siblings. Elizabeth, Robert’s wife, is expecting her third. Olivia is Charlotte’s youngest; Major Corkberger, a heart surgeon, is Charlotte’s husband. Joshua is her ruthless, yet clueless father, the one who tried to pay Ethan to turn Merit; Meredith is her sociable mother.

Ethan “Darth” Sullivan is 400 years old and Master of Cadogan House, one of four groups of vampires in Chicago. Luc is captain of the House Guards; Kelley, Lindsey (she and Luc are hooked up), and Juliet are the official guards. Helen was a White House social secretary before Ethan stole her away. Delia is the House’s resident doctor. Louie and Angelo are some of the human guards employed by Cadogan House. Connor is a clueless young vampire.

There are four vampire houses in Chicago: Cadogan; Grey led by Scott Grey; Navarre led, sort of, by Morgan Greer; and, Sheridan House which doesn’t exist in this story.

Jonah is captain of the Grey House guards AND Merit’s partner in the Red Guard. Aubrey is a jealous Grey House guard. Brooklyn is an unhappy vampire. Dr. Gianakous is Grey’s House doctor.

Catcher Bell is a warlock and Merit’s friend as well as her beginning teacher in swordcraft. He’s also Mallory’s maybe boyfriend. Mallory Carmichael is Merit’s friend and a witch. One who went very badly awry and is now on probation in the magic community and serving it within the confines of the shifter community, the North American Central Pack. Gabe Keene is the alpha who oversees Mallory’s rehabilitation. Tanya is his wife, and they have a new baby son, Connor. Berna is one of Gabe’s relatives and bartender at Little Red.

Jeff Christopher is a friend, colleague, shifter, and computer nerd who works for Merit’s grandfather, Chuck Merit, the former Ombudsman who acted as liaison for Chicago’s supernatural before he was fired. Detective Jacobs is investigating the riots and bombings.

Blood4You is a blood distribution company owned by Charla and her chemist brother, Alan Bryant. Robin Pope is a disgruntled employee.

Saul makes great pizza. Sam and Aaron are the kids who stood up to the bullies. Nick Breckenridge is a journalist, a shifter, and sees vampires as the enemy. Which begs the question as to why he’s so amenable.

John McKetrick is a nutjob who’s got the wrong people fooled. He’s the current head of the Office of Human Liaisons while Diane Kowalcyzk is the really stupid mayor.

Greenwich Presidium is the central governing core of all vampires which regulates every little detail of the North American and Western European vampires while giving nothing back. Darius West is supposedly the head of the GP, but there are rumors. Lakshmi Rao is a member of the GP and the Red Guard with a crush on Jonah. Harold Monmouth is am ambitiously vicious twerp. The Red Guard is a clandestine unit tasked with overseeing the Houses and the GP to ensure they don’t get out of line.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a deep and lovely purple in the night sky above Chicago as a leather-clad Merit hunkers down on her heeled boots out on a pier and looks back at the city over the gleaming waters.

The title comes from Merit’s realization that while Cadogan House may allow vampires to bite humans, doing it to kill is Biting Bad.

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