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Review: Biting Cold by Chloe Neill (Chicagoland Vampires, #6)

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Biting Cold (Chicagoland Vampires, #6)Biting Cold by Chloe Neill

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I've been trying really hard not to do reviews that are just complaining lately, but this one just kept rubbing me the wrong way at every turn, it was really disappoint from a book that I was really looking forward to. It just kept getting worse and worse as the book went on, it just wasn't a good book in any way.

It's weird, I remember in the first book being really annoyed because Merit whined too much, now I'm annoyed because she's way to mature. She's 28, but she analyses Ethan like she's Miss Mature and perfect, it makes me nuts. He's 400+ yet he's the immature and emotionally damaged one. And it still makes me nuts that she's so great at strategy and using weapons instantly after becoming a vampire; she was a lit grad student, it makes no sense. Maybe she has more power than most vampires, and maybe she even learns quickly, but strategic sense doesn't just happen, and there's never any substitute for age and experience (which several people in her House do have). It just makes the whole Sentinel premise make so little sense that it needs to be handled more delicately than it is here. The author has turned her into some generic urban fantasy heroine who can solve any problem, fight any foe, analyze every friend or loved-one's issues and barely break a sweat and it's just annoying. At this point there's really nothing about Merit that I relate to or connect to other than her love of junk food, which frankly is mentioned a few too many times. Just the mentions of Mallowmars alone could be a drinking game. Merit has become so hallow, she doesn't have an spirit or heart to me. She's just too good, too perfect, too predictable.

And why do authors think they need to keep having really contrived obstacles to keep the couple apart? Seriously, how many phones ringing, oops he's dead!, now he's alive but is afraid he'll hurt hurt her can we take? I've read all of the excuses so many times and it's not interesting in the least anymore. By the sixth book what would have been interesting would be a strong couple working together and actually getting to know each other instead of stupidly having more misunderstandings. It makes it impossible to root for Ethan when he's been written so immaturely from the very beginning. I want an "alpha" hero, as she keeps claiming he is, to act like a powerful and smart man. I get that he's worried about her and that it's his tendency to protect his people, but he's just acting like a jerk in every book and it isn't fun to read. He fights every step in their relationship, there's always a "good" reason. And she's always smarter than him and has to prove to him how things are supposed to be. A man who isn't willing to go after want he wants isn't sexy to me. And Merit's apparent maturity and smugness doesn't make it any better.

And then the one thing that kept me really interested for the last few books was the mystery of Tate. Which was finally revealed mid-book and completely ruined the cool manipulative fascinating guy that he'd been before and made everything about him for the rest of the book completely boring as well. I didn't care about him at all anymore, there was nothing interesting about him in the least once he became completely black and white, he was totally dull and just ruined as a character. Plus so much of the story just didn't make any sense. There were so many things that once I started thinking a about them, about the book, about the evil, about what Mallory did, that just made no sense at all.

And how about a drinking game for the number of times the word Sentinel was used? I get it, really, she's the House Sentinel. You can stop telling me. Sometimes as many as three or four times on a page.

And then she didn't do anything to figure out the big secret, it just got told to her because someone's feelings got hurt. Some big detective she is.

All of that was in between running up and down stairs, driving back and forth to see Mallory, to see the fairy queen, back and forth, back and forth, taking showers, putting on her leather jacket, don't forget your leather jacket Merit! There was so much repetitive back and forth details it was insane. I appreciate the everyday realism but it was nutty how often some things were repeated. The number of drinking games that I could have played with this book could have well and truly killed me deader than any bad guy, no sword required.

I'm trying to think of some good stuff to say, I am. OK, good stuff: how the werewolves handled Mallory was cool. And how Mallory dealt with her situation was good in general, she seemed genuine and remorseful. And Gabe is just cool. And Jeff, Jeff is cool.

And Darius has a point, how come Merit and Cadogan House are the only ones doing anything? Jonah is helping a tiny bit, her grandpa, Jeff and Catcher are still helping even though they aren't being paid, but mostly it's still just them. Why is it Merit's job or Cadogan's job to deal with any of this? Darius kind of has a point, is she really protecting her House by dragging them into the center of every battle? "I am the Sentinel of my House and a protector of this city." Are they the same thing? The author obviously thinks so but I'm not so sure. Or maybe that's what the next book is going to be about, we'll see.

I really hate to be so incredibly negative about this book. I'm one of the few people who didn't freak out after the big cliffhanger after book four, I was willing to hang in and see where the author took us. I hoped that it was an opportunity for growth for Merit and change for the series. But instead things have really stalled. Merit supposedly grew up more while Ethan was gone but she just feels more smug to me. She never makes any mistakes, even though she's practically new to this still. She's way too perfect and that isn't interesting. And I'm tired of the games with the relationship with Ethan, if that doesn't evolve into a mature partnership at this point than I really am done with this series. Instead of coming up with stupid contrived relationship obstacles, I hope the author comes up with some new situations that will be interesting and challenging for the characters in addition to the somewhat-cliffhanger at the end. I'm sure she can do it and I'm still rooting for her.

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