While I was ecstatic with the outcome of this book (specifically the last ten pages or so- if you have read my reviews of the first four books in this series I think that you know what I am referring to), I must admit that I was a bit disappointed with the book overall.
The first thing about the book that irked me was the paranormal element that was introduced in this book that, in my opinion, came out of the left field. While it is always nice for a book to be unique and all, I just felt that this new paranormal element doesn't mesh all that well with the paranormal elements found in the earlier books and was almost too "out there" (I mean- remember the good ol'days when Merit's biggest concern was ensuring that the vamps/ shifters didn't rip one another's heads off?) and frankly, I found the paranormal element in this book to not have been very well-explained/ was delivered to us in an "information dump" sort of way (with it being explained in a rush, in a few pages at most).
I was also somewhat disappointed by this book because I found the plot to be too formulaic- when Plan A didn't work for Merit she would then turn to Plan B, when that, too, failed, she would then turn to Plan C- while never getting dismayed by her number of failures/ lack of progress. And I was disappointed with Jonah- he didn't make an impact upon me whatsoever in the earlier books (frankly, I am surprised that I didn't have to pick up my copy of the book to remind myself of his name while writing this review) and as such, I didn't enjoy how much of this book was devoted to him (Then again, I am a diehard Ethan fan, so that might explain my dislike of him).Read more ›
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Every book from now on will, I am sure, be rated 5 stars. They are just so damn captivating. Merits further adventures and turmoil are just so well done by Chloe Neill. Just when you think something be it a character or a situation is stable and untouchable BAM something happens. Again many long nights have been spent reading this series. I suffer at work for a good evenings reading. Its worth it. GOOD read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
90 of 105 people found the following review helpful
Drink DeepNov. 1 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
*******NOTE: There are spoilers for previous books in this series, as well as spoilers for Drink Deep*********
The first three books of this series I loved and adored. I recommended them to many based on their snark and action appeal. But then Hard Bitten came along, and at the end, the vampire hero Ethan dies. Stake in the heart, turns to ashes. The end.
I did the whole - wait, what? Let me read that again. Seriously? I may have thrown the book across the room. I'm all for cliff hangers - I enjoy being miserable along with my friends. But this just didn't feel right. After 3 books, and most of 4, I didn't want the hero of the series to be dead. I actually thought by the end of book four Merit and Ethan would finally trust each other enough to be together. I wasn't only angry that the hero dies, but I was angry that we were still being dragged along in this series without some good solid romance. I was bitter and angry, and I remained bitter and angry as I started Drink Deep - did it skew my opinion of this book - maybe. Just putting that out there.
Now I assumed all along that Ethan would eventually come back. He has to, right? Right. I was more worried with the "how." HOW will Chloe Neill bring him back, and will it be plausible? I'll answer that in a minute. First let me set up this book.
Drink Deep starts two months after Hard Bitten ends. Right here is a problem for me because we miss all of Merit's mourning. Although sad, she is basically ready to get back to work. I think we needed to be a part of her intense mourning instead of just telling us she mourned.
Malik is now in charge of Cadogen House and has problems. The water in Lake Michigan has turned a dark, inky black and has stopped moving altogether. The public is quick to blame the vampires, but they have had nothing to do with it. Not wanting anymore riots, Merit knows they must get to the bottom of this before the public acts against the vampires even more than they do now. Now that she doesn't have Ethan to work with anymore, she turns to Jonah. Jonah is captain of the guards for Grey House, but he is also secretly a member of the Red Guard, "a secret organization dedicated to providing oversight to the American vampire Houses and the Greenwich Presidium (GP), the European council that ruled them from across the pond." Jonah has been pressuring Merit to join the Red Guard for quite some time. With the offer still open, he agrees to help Merit investigate this weird disturbance.
Meanwhile back at Cadogen House, Franklin Cabot has been appointed receiver of Cadogen House. The GP has decided they didn't like the way Cadogen House was run, so Frank was sent in to evaluate the house. He has also changed many rules and has become a complete pain in the ass for everyone that lives at Cadogen. Merit is also have vivid dreams of Ethan, usually involving some crisis, but waking up right before anything devastating happens. When the sky suddenly turns red, they realize they must get to the bottom of this before action is taken against the supernaturals.
I'll start by saying I think this book is on the slow side. Maybe that is because I was waiting, and waiting for the Ethan situation to be addressed. But while there is some action with the water turning black, and the sky turning red, there really isn't a lot going on. While Mallory is still working with Simon to pass her sorceress tests - Lindsey fills in with the snarkiness, which drew me to this series to begin with.
I was worried that Jonah would become a new love interest for Merit, and while I'm happy to say there really isn't a love triangle that develops, I don't understand Jonah's role in this book. He felt more as just a place marker in the book until Ethan could come back. There is a secret that develops between Merit and Jonah (nothing romance related) and I can see in the future this might cause tension for Merit's relationship with Ethan....and this worries me. Maybe it won't happen - but Jonah definitely has a thing for Merit, even if she doesn't necessarily return those feelings. And keeping secrets from Ethan regarding Jonah- I can see this as a set up for drama and I really hope in the next book we get a more smooth road for these two.
I've reflected as to why this series is turning me off so much and this is what I've come up with. In most UF series we read, the good guys (heroine, hero, supporting characters) are usually fighting an evil outside force. They work together to defeat this evil. What I don't like about the direction this series is going is that traumatic things keep happening to main characters.(At the end of Drink Deep another favorite character has something bad happen) They are becoming different people than how they were presented at the beginning of the series. And I don't mean they are growing and changing in a good way. I don't want to read about awful things happening to the characters I love. I want to read about the characters I love helping each other to face down the villains I love to hate.
Ethan dying wore me out and I'm really unhappy with "the how" as I mentioned above. Really unhappy. Very lackluster scene at the end. And I fear when we find out how the new predicament is to be resolved with another favorite character (the way it is set up I can't imagine it with a positive result) I will also be disappointed.
Maybe I'm just bitter over the end of the previous book, but I don't like the end of this one either. The big scene at the end lacked emotion, which is my biggest disappointment. And then another cliffhanger. Not what I was expecting.
69 of 80 people found the following review helpful
An unfortunate addition to an excellent series.Nov. 3 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I have been a big fan of the Chicagoland Vampires series since it came out. Unfortunately, this book fell a little short for me.
*SPOILER ALERT* The story seems to be, more or less, a repeat of what was previously done and the main character does not seem to be developing much. She is continuously making the same decisions and has the same inner turmoils, just with different men. It felt to me, like the possibility of Jonah as a lover came from left field and was just used to offset the previous attempts by another lover to win her affections from Ethan and create some drama and fodder for Merit's love life.
The book circles around what appeared to be quite obvious to me at the beginning and a lot of the interactions with other sups seemed to be page filler. It doesn't make sense why the water nyphs would destroy the water and it seemed to take a long time for the heroine to come to this conclusion. Repeatedly throughout the book, there are references made to sorcerers being the only ones who could have initiated the magic that caused the sky to bleed and the water to die, yet Merit takes the entire book to end with this, ultimately discovering it was Mallory.
I would have liked to have seen, at least SOME build up, to indicate Mallory had a dark side. From the beginning of the series, Mallory was always level-headed and kind. Out of the blue, she is embracing evil and nearly destroying the city? Merit claims repeatedly Mallory is like a close sister to her but doesn't put two and two together and see that there is something seriously wrong with her "best friend."
In the end, Ethan rises from the ashes, literally. Honestly, I have read a lot of paranormal type books with varying magical abilities but this one seemed to be a bit too much. I can see where Ethan may be a ghost or some other type of entity but to be back, fully vampire from a pile of dust. That rings just a little too far fetched, even in this genre. I can see there will be more to this story in the coming books however, this one left too many loose ends. The spell that resurrected him was interrupted, yet he is here, fully formed with no apparent issues and has rematerialized from ashes.
I believe Chloe Neill is an excellent author and has a gift for spinning stories. Unfortunately, this book missed the mark. To me it felt like Ms. Neill had a deadline to meet and a book from this series required. Perhaps I am wrong and the next in the series will tie up some of those loose ends. Unfortunately for me, this one fell flat in what appeared to be a very promising series.
59 of 68 people found the following review helpful
Really?Nov. 6 2011
The Honey Badger
- Published on Amazon.com
You all will have to forgive me - I don't usually write reviews, I just read and review aloud. However, after finishing this book this morning, I was compelled to share my thoughts regarding.
I have to say, I was absolutely surprised at how so very, absolutely and terribly...boring I found this book. Prior to reading, I was a really big Merit fan, loved her, loved the action, intrigue, the love/hate/like/lust relationship she had with Ethan, and just about everything about the story. I read Ms. Neill's website, took a deep breath, and "trusted her." I regret that now (and I don't believe in regretting anything I do). While I realize the author has to be true to the story, and there was some attempt to redeem it (the story) in the fans eyes - for more than 3/4's of the book, that "wow" that "it" that "x factor" that made the story so great, was missing. Without giving it away for those who have not read it, I will simply say - I am going to B&N and doing something so totally out of character for a woman that at one point owned more than 5,000 books - I am returning the book for a refund.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Disappointed in Drink DeepNov. 8 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I love the first three novels of the Chicagoland Vampires. Then Hard bitten happens, and now, Drink Deep.
There are spoilers in this review. I'm sorry ahead of time. But look away if you don't want to know what happens.
This will be my shortest review on Amazon. I posted longer rants on Goodreads and my Book Blog about this novel. Suffice it to say that Drink Deep was an utter disappointment. At the end of Hard Bitten, Ethan get's a stake to the heart, and turns to dust. Dead. Gone.
Talk about a kick to the head. So then we are told to trust Ms. Neill. At this point in my life, trust has to be earned from authors. The yo yo back and forth from Merit and Ethan, doesn't lend itself to trust.
At any rate, I find myself still bitter apparently. Sorry about that.
Drink Deep had an interesting premise. One of the things I enjoy about Ms. Neill is her writing style. I like how she describes people and places. Drink Deep however was lacking in the emotional department.
After you kill a character, there needs to be GRIEF. We need to FEEL. The opening of the book starts TWO MONTHS AFTER Ethan dies. We are not Privy to one IOTA of Grief or sadness.
The end of Drink Deep, when you know Ethan is going to come back, should have been an emotional reunion between Ethan and Merit. We were robbed of this. It should have been emotional between Ethan and the Cadogan House Vampires. We were robbed of this. It should have been emotional between Malik and Ethan, as they were best friends. We were robbed of this. This was the most unemotional come back EVER.
I feel completely cheated.
I also hated how Mallory has taken the dark path. For four books she was Merits best friend, then quick as a wink she is a different person all together? I don't believe it. I wasn't sold on the idea. You can't just say it is so, and expect us to believe it. There needed to be hints here and there. There needs to be more explanation.
I'm sorry, Drink Deep was disappointing,and I won't be buying anymore Chicagoland novels. I may get them from the library, but you know what? I just don't care about Ethan or Merit anymore.
THAT is the biggest travesty here.
So, I thought this would be short. Guess I'm long winded >.<
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
I was hoping for betterNov. 9 2011
M from California
- Published on Amazon.com
After the kick in the face that Hard Bitten was, Chloe Neill asked her readers to "trust her" so I expected she would get the Chicagoland Vampires story back on track in this book. I was wrong.
In my review of Hard Bitten, I complained about how CN suddenly changed her characters for absolutely no reason. Well, she did the same thing again in Drink Deep. In all the other books, Mallory was Merit's best friend. Someone she could always count on. This book, she is suddenly a psycho sorceress bent on merging good & evil magic. Just like that. In fact, turns out she stole the book of black magic from Cadogan House (along with Ethan's ashes) while she was staying with a grieving Merit. Out of nowhere, she's a completely different person, & Simon, the person the Order has training her, & Catcher, her live-in lover, both of who are powerful sorcerers don't notice this? Ridiculous.
In Hard Bitten, CN hit us with the plot twist that Merit's father tried to pay Ethan to change her into a vampire, & also that the reason she wants to be called Merit is that her father named her Caroline after her sister who died. This came up near the end of the book without any hints of it before. You would think that something as major as her father trying to get her turned would be a big part of this book, but it's only mentioned in one sentence, & her father is barely mentioned at all, only when she runs across him helping people. Now he's a good guy? How can she not follow up on something like this? It's only been 2 months since Merit found out, she should still be raging about it.
Finally, there is Ethan's return. I knew he would be back, I knew it would be stupid, & I wasn't wrong. Mallory tries to make Ethan her zombie familiar using his ashes, Catcher stops the spell, but somehow Ethan comes back to life. Wearing the same exact clothes he had on when he died. wtf, wtf, WTF???????
We all know the plot of the next book. Merit & Ethan try to find Mallory all the while dealing with the fact that Mallory can control him. Blah, Chloe Neill has taken a series with great potential & made it stupid.