They killed me. They healed me. They changed me.
Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it was Merit’s. She was doing fine until a rogue vampire attacked her. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker–and this one decided the best way to save her life was to make her the walking undead.
Turns out her savior was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now she’s traded sweating over her thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed, four-hundred- year-old vampire, he has centuries’ worth of charm, but unfortunately he expects her gratitude–and servitude.
But an inconvenient sunlight allergy and Ethan’s attitude are the least of her concerns. Someone’s still out to get her. Her initiation into Chicago’s nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war–and there will be blood.
I really liked this series! It’s a very classic Urban Fantasy read, with lots of action and murder and magic and mayhem. There’s a colorful cast of supporting characters who range from Shifters to Sorcerers. Told from the first person POV of Merit, the Chicagoland Vampires series is a homage to the beautiful city of Chicago. There’s a hint of romance in the background throughout it all with Ethan, the Master of a vampire house, but the action is first and foremost in each book.
The story begins with Merit, a grad student, getting killed and then saved by a vampire in the streets of Chicago. She resents the Master vampire who turned her (Ethan, the male protagonist of the story) and struggles to transition into her powers. Throughout the series, she becomes protective of the vampire house she’s in and makes allies and enemies, all while saving Chicago.
What can I say? 13 books is a LOT to commit to. They get pretty formulaic if you read them one after the other, but it’s not a bad series to leisurely read between books. It’s easy to pick back up, as Neill does a good job in catching readers up in the beginning of each book, and the books are for the most part individualized. (While there are some carry-over conflicts from previous books, it’s not hard to piece together.)
The basic plotline goes a little like:
- 2/3 plots going on at the same time.
- 1 of them is a murder mystery and is probably connected to the other.
- Relationship troubles between Merit and Ethan
- Chicago humans: Gahh! We hate supernaturals! They’re dangerous and ruining society.
- *bad press for vampires*
- Merit does some edgy action where she gets injured while protecting the House.
- Ethan gets all protective and mad.
- Merit and Ethan sort out relationship troubles.
- Merit + Ethan + Mallory + Catcher + Jeff save the day, foiling multiple nefarious plots at once.
- News media/the public: Yay supernaturals! We must thank them for saving the day.
- Happy ending 🙂
I’m still glad I picked up the series, despite the predictability. If you find yourself itching for an Urban Fantasy read, I think this series is a solid one to pick up. I’m not a huge reader of UF, but I guess the best comparison I can give is Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series, which also focuses on vampires. While Night Huntress is a bit more elaborate in romance and setting, the Chicagoland Vampires series stays solely in Chicago and doesn’t travel anywhere else. The romance between Ethan and Merit is also really solid and steady, low in angst and drama. I do have to admit though, there was one too many dudes who had romantic feelings for Merit in the beginning of the series to my liking. Luckily they all end up in their own relationships, but was that really necessary?
This series was a solid 3.5 stars! (I enjoyed it, but it didn’t quite “WOW” me. One of those rainy day reads, you know?)