Some Girls Bite: A Chicagoland Vampires Novel – Chloe Neill
It was the cover that attracted me to this book: a young lady, presumably a vampire, purposefully holding a katana. I thought it might be an action-oriented vampire story, at least to some degree; but sadly it wasn’t really what I had hoped for. (By the way, if anyone reading this has any thriller or adventure-style vampire literature that they can recommend, please do so.)
Several months after the existence of vampires is revealed to humanity in the city of Chicago, the protagonist, known only as Merit, is attacked by a vampire and left at the brink of death. She is immediately turned by a somewhat more benevolent vampire, which leaves her whole life turned upside down. Merit must now find a place for herself in Cadogan House, the division of vampires who converted her, and begin training to fit her new role – not to mention, whoever attacked her is still out there, and causing even more trouble.
There’s not a great deal more that can be said about the story itself. It mostly consists of Merit meeting people, learning things, and being introspective, with the whole murder mystery element occasionally popping its head up. As such, this book isn’t the most interesting read. Regarding the image on the cover, there is plenty of training for combat in Merit’s journey, but not much putting it into practice.
The wider world created by the story has potential – not only because this is a world where humans have just found out about vampires, but where other supernatural creatures exist like sorcerers, nymphs and shapeshifters. But this potential is largely wasted. The most interesting part of the outing of vampires seems to have been skipped, with brief mentions that there was some rioting and such at the time; and not enough time is spent on how everyone generally feels about the issue at the time of the story, either. The wider supernatural world doesn’t play much of a role, except for sorcerers, as Merit’s best friend Mallory discovers that she is one – but this isn’t handled very well either. Mallory seems surprised to get this news, but then everyone seems to go back and forth between just accepting it and treating it like a big deal.
Some elements are fairly fresh, like the vampires’ house system and overall society, and Merit’s own perspective of being a vampire, particularly how she describes the vampire instinct within her as being like a separate person. However, some of it is a tad cliche too, like the vampires in Cadogan House having a generally high-class atmosphere, to the point that they stick Merit in a cocktail dress immediately after turning her. If you’re going to use something like that, you should at least give a proper explanation.
The characters are okay at best. Merit’s not a bad protagonist per se – I did like her struggle to accept what’s happened to her and how she wants to approach her new vampire life on her own terms. She can however take this too far, and seem like she’s being argumentative just for the sake of it. Also, she’s another protagonist who’s too “special”, having above-average strength for a newborn vampire and a few other special abilities and privileges, just because. Relatively early on, the story starts building a hostile-but-obviously-leading-to-romance-eventually relationship between Merit and her house master, Ethan, eventually leading to a love triangle when another male vampire enters the mix – and this was an element I really, really couldn’t care less about. I certainly didn’t buy that the centuries-old Ethan would sincerely ask the newly turned Merit to become his mistress, and I saw little reason to be invested in the relationship when Merit and Ethan both admit they don’t like each other all that much and the attraction is mostly physical. At least they’re honest, I guess.
Some Girls Bite is an exceedingly lukewarm story, and hasn’t left me with any desire to read the other Chicagoland Vampires books. Rating: 2/5.
An old saying springs to mind ‘never judge a book by its cover’!
The vampire houses isn’t a new thing, they use it in the Manga series Black Blood Brothers. Although I can’t think as I’ve seen it anywhere else.
I’ve never actually read any manga. I suppose there’s so much vampire fiction out there that practically every concept has been done more than once.
I actually wrote my own vampire thriller for the 2011 NaNoWriMo and am aiming to polish it up this year.
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I don’t read Manga myself, my nephew does. Black Blood Brothers was a Manga Fox anime series he had. He said if I watched a couple of episodes with him, he’d watch a disney with me. I ended up borrowing the boxset when I went home and sat through all the night watching the full series.
Good luck with the vampire novel. Are they old school vampires, (selfish, blood-drinkers, use humans for their own diabolic means) or the new hippie type (drinks blood substitute, suffers from guilt complex, fully paid up member of the International Vampire Association Save the Human)
The protagonist is definitely the hippie type: she’s strongly motivated by a desire to help people as well as her religious beliefs. Unfortunately for her, there’s no blood substitute in this world: it has to be drunk directly from the source (so stored blood is no good) and even vampires who mostly live off animal blood have to drink from humans every now and then to stay healthy. The other vampires have a mix of attitudes, though in their society, killing humans is generally discouraged as it’s all too easy to draw unnecessary attention in this era of advanced communication.
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