Author: Chloe Neill (author website)
Release Date: November 1st 2011
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
I was so excited for this book. I read books one through four in an obsessive haze, and was left in a stunned stupor when I finished Hard Bitten. Drink Deep is fast paced, exciting, funny. At times fun, and at times painful. Drink Deep is everything I've come to expect from a Chicagoland Vampires book. But it felt like half a book.
Clouds are brewing over Cadogan House, and Merit the vampire 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 have never been more precarious for the vampires. If only they could lay low for a bit...
Then magic rears its ugly head when Lake Michigan turns black. The mayor insists it's nothing to worry about, but Merit knows a panic is coming. 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 both the vampires and humans.
I give up. I’m incapable of writing a short review. So I'm not trying anymore.
Two months have passed since the events of Drink Deep. Cadogan House is still grieving its Master's loss, and no one feels that loss more keenly than Merit. She's haunted by ominous dreams of disaster and Ethan. As threatened, the house has gone into receivership, and is being overseen by vile GP (the vampire lord high council) bureaucrat, Frank Cabot. Intent on destroying the house from the inside out, he has placed it on blood rations. The new mayor is pushing for mandatory vampire registration, and the feel in the city isn’t good. Merit’s BFF, Mallory, is cracking under the stress of her sorcering exams. And if all that's not enough, the lake suddenly turns black. Now Merit has to handle protesting humans, BFF drama, and make sure elemental forces don't tear the city apart, if the politicians don't do it first.
After the shocking ending of Hard Bitten, I found it hard not to read Drink Deep with one goal in mind: read until I find out exactly how Neill's going to deal with The Ethan Issue. Ethan's absence noted, I still enjoyed the book. I was expecting a kind of 'filler' book. The book where Neill undoes what she did in the last one. But it's more than a filler book: this is a pivotal point in what's been building for a while now. Drink Deep is the culmination of 4 books worth of planning and prophecy. This is a turning point.
Things have been wrong, and getting wronger for a while. Merit's been a little oblivious to what has been going on in the lives of the people around her. After reading these books back to back, I can see the hints and threads coming together, to form the pattern starting to reveal itself here.
Merit:Political and social tensions mounting, dealing with the loss of a loved one, and fighting to maintain equilibrium between Greenwich Presidium's expectations, as well as the community within which she lives, we join Merit in a darker place than we have in the past four Chicagoland Vampire books. With Ethan's absence, Merit has lost a partner, a teacher, and someone much more important to her on a personal level. I guess we could say this is the book that had to happen for Merit...
She needed to find out who she was without Ethan's influence. While I'm not sure she grows a great deal, she does come to know herself better, and what she wants, and she learns to trust her own judgment to a greater degree. We have missed a large part of her initial grieving for Ethan, but her grief is still very real, palpable, and present in every choice she makes, thought she has, and sight she sees.
I was really upset on Merit's behalf in this book. Why on earth the universe seems to be against her beats me, but from day one, every key player in Chicagoland has been using her as a pawn. Including those she loves.
The Gang:Mallory spends most of this book being an awful friend, and stressing about her exams, but she's there. Big Things are happening in Camp Mallory. You've been warned. I’m really pissed at Mallory. The two keep having the “you gave up our friendship for Darth Sullivan,” thing. Uhhh... how? This would be after Mallory was parading her naked boyfriend around the place they shared, forcing Merit out. The two have had it tough: both came into very scary changes at the same time. Mallory feels Merit wasn’t there for her. Geez, I wonder why? Surprise vampirism, maybe? She’s being a bitch. I understand why, but you can only take so much. I’m particularly upset as she was a favorite character, and it sad watching the path she’s taking. At the same time, I’m angry at Mallory, not Chloe Neill. I don’t think this is a fault with the book, but a crucial part of the character’s growth.
Catcher is as snarky as ever, but he bothers me. Does he, or does he not, think if Merit as a friend? I've never been able to tell. He expects her to be a concerned friend to Mallory, but bites her head off when she attempts to be in this installment. He's obviously under strain at the time, but c’mon. Immediately after he has the nerve to ask Merit if she's respecting Ethan's memory. Huh?
Lindsay and Luc are back as a couple, and there's an adorable scene between Jeff and Catcher to look forward to, too.
Yep, all our favorites are back, but you see less of them than you may expect, with page time dominated by new addition to the cast, Jonah: Grey House guard captain, member of the Red Guard, and all round gorgeous hunk of manpire.
Which Brings Us To... Jonah:He's clearly a new romantic interest for Merit, but I'm not sure where this is going. Was he to fill the Ethan shaped hole in this book, or is Neill planning love triangulation for the futures? I tells you, people: I HATE love triangles. Personally, despite being firmly camp Ethan, I LIKE Jonah. A lot. He's funny and charming. He's thoughtful. He's gorgeous. Dream guy, right? But Merit's dreams are haunted by Ethan.
Politics:The Chicagoland series is politically driven, we all know this, and Drink Deep takes it further. There's a new Mayor in town, and fan of vampires she is not. Which is a nice way of saying she's a raging bitch. It's her who's pushing the vampire registration law, and COME ON. Isn't this some kind of constitutional violation?
In cohorts with Mayor McBitchy, McKettrick rears his ugly head again, but don’t expect resolution, as you won't get it. I truly wonder where this is going, and if he has ties to Tate. Because, sorry folks, Tate's not out of the picture, and don't expect any resolution there, either.
Human politics aren't all that's going on. The GP is still maneuvering, and involving themselves in Cadogan affairs. The house IS in receivership, as threatened, and despicable Frank Cabot, is deliberately stepping on toes and creating drama. I worry over how his part in this story is resolved. Satisfying and amusing though it is, I'm sure we haven't heard the last of this, and in fact, the issue may now be worse.
Ethan:OK, the real reason y'all are here, amiright? So I'm gonna spoiler you... Below. I'll white it out, so read at your own risk.
Highlight for spoilers: Yes, Ethan is back. He had to be, after all that build and tension, and with only 4 books left in the series? Surely Neill couldn't suddenly snap her fingers and bring in a magical lover-boy contingency. So, yes, Ethan's back. But it happens in the last tenth of the book, so be patient. Try to enjoy the ride. And expect more questions. We don't know what the repercussions of his return are. They could be very bad for Ethan.
I'm Winding It Up Now, I Promise:Ultimately, Drink Deep creates more questions than it answers. It leaves us at climax point, then leaves us hanging. I enjoyed every page, but I finished it feeling unsatisfied, and despite that enjoyment, I didn't love it quite as much as prior installments. You know the feeling you have after you’ve eaten a fantastic dinner, and you’re full and sated, but dying for dessert? That little sweet something extra, that finishes the meal. Drink Deep left me feeling like that. Don't expect to be satisfied, but do expect to be thrilled.
Books in This Series:
- Some Girls Bite
- Friday Night Bites
- Twice Bitten
- Hard Bitten
- Drink Deep
- Biting Cold (Expected August 2012)
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