Review: Drink Deep (Chicagoland Vampires #5) by Chloe Neill

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: Trade Paperback
Publisher: New American Library (November 1st 2011)
How I got this book: Bought
Links: Amazon Goodreads

Blurb from Goodreads:

Clouds are brewing over Cadogan House, and recently turned vampire Merit can’t tell if this is the darkness before the dawn or the calm before the storm. With the city itself in turmoil over paranormals and the state threatening to pass a paranormal registration act, times haven’t been this precarious for vampires since they came out of the closet. If only they could lay low for a bit, and let the mortals calm down.

That’s when the waters of Lake Michigan suddenly turn pitch black-and things really start getting ugly.

Chicago’s mayor insists it’s nothing to worry about, but Merit knows only the darkest magic could have woven a spell powerful enough to change the very fabric of nature. She’ll have to turn to friends old and new to find out who’s behind this, and stop them before it’s too late for vampires and humans alike.

My rating: 4/5 Stars – A good read. I really enjoyed it.

Review: (Contains a big spoiler for the previous book, Hard Bitten.)

This is a difficult book to review because I have mixed feelings about it.  On the one hand, Drink Deep fulfilled many of my expectations following the bombshell ending in Hard Bitten, but, on the other hand, it wasn’t completely satisfying.  I did enjoy it, however, and the series still has me hanging on every word, so I’m going to give Drink Deep a four-star rating, on par with the previous books.

The plot is alright; Merit does a lot of investigating, but she doesn’t really get anywhere.  Suspense is generated from the fact that Chicago is going to hell in handbasket while the GP (the vampire ruling body) does its best to trip up the people who are trying to fix the problem.  Cadogan’s GP overlord, Frank, is little more than a paper-thin, cartoon villain, and the revelation of the true perpetrator of all the city’s supernatural mayhem is rather disturbing.  It wasn’t a big surprise, given all the clues that Merit fails to add up, but it was shocking to me that the author would choose to twist this character in such a dramatic way.  It left me feeling off-balance and emotionally distressed all over again.

Speaking of emotional distress, (warning: major spoiler for Hard Bitten) this book sees Merit grieving over Ethan’s death.  He’s never far from her mind, even as she tries to figure out how to handle her burgeoning partnership with Jonah.  I’ve always felt like Merit is one of the most emotionally honest heroines I’ve ever encountered, and this still holds true in Drink Deep.  Merit’s inner thought process, her feelings about Ethan, and the way she chooses to interact with this potential new love interest, all felt very real and truthful to me.  In fact, Merit’s emotional struggle between grief, love, attraction, and the desire for support might be the most captivating part of the book.

Once again, the ending totally pulls the rug out from under you.  It feels surreal and dream-like.  Even as you’re sitting there thinking, “Yes!  I knew it,” you can’t help but feel like it’s all happening too fast, like it might be some sort of trick.  The first time I read the ending, I felt like something was missing.  Some spark just wasn’t there, and it wasn’t as emotional as I wanted it to be.  There are things that I expected Merit to say that she doesn’t, and other things that are said don’t feel as weighty as they should.  But, even though I still think the ending could have been better written, I liked it much better the second time I read it, after having had time to process the events.  I realized that my initial reaction to the ending was the same as Merit’s emotional reaction as she’s going through it.  She isn’t sure how to feel, and she even uses the word “surreal.”  Ultimately, I can’t fault Merit for reacting to everything the exact same way that I would in her situation.  So, while I still have mixed feelings about it, I’ve decided to accept the ending and let myself be happy with it.

Drink Deep doesn’t really end on a cliffhanger – the mystery of Chicago’s supernatural troublemaker is solved – but there’s clearly a lot more to the story.  It sets up the next book nicely, and gives us tidbits that will undoubtedly be important for mysteries in future books such as Tate’s scheming and Morgan’s strange behavior.  Not to mention, there’s still a huge political mess, complicated relationships, and emotional issues to be worked out.  Overall, I really enjoyed Drink Deep.  I just hope that the next installment, Biting Cold, coming out in August 2012, can sort out some of these conflicts and rekindle the emotional intensity and the passion of the first four books.

Reading Order:

  1. Some Girls Biteread my review
  2. Friday Night Bitesread my review
  3. Twice Bittenread my review
  4. Hard Bittenread my review
  5. Drink Deep
  6. Biting Cold – to be released August 7, 2012

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About Lesley

I love big dogs, ravioli, and all things nerdy. Books are my crack.
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