The Wenches Discuss...
Wild Things by Chloe Neill
A VERY Spoilery Discussion by Zee the Terrible and Barbara Bones
|Collage by the fabulous Olga Daniels|
It's that time again, Saucy readers. By now, we're hoping you've read Barb's Wild Things review, because now, we're going to talk about the latest Chicagoland Vampires installment, Wild Things. Be prepared for intense fangirling, squeeing, and just general Merit and Ethan adoration. (We do love talking about all things CLV, as you can see from our House Rules discussion here.)
There WILL be spoilers. Lots and lots of spoilers. Please do not click through the jump if you don't want to be spoiled.
We just love how Wild Things literally took off from the get go. Not surprising considering how we ended the last book. As we drove off to the Brecks' estate with Merit and Ethan in Moneypenny (still love that name, not getting over it anytime soon) we sort of wondered when/if someone would make Mayor Kowalcyzk disappear for good....
The Breckenridges' hostility really is unfounded, as far as we can tell. They proved that Cadogan House had nothing to do with threatening Jamie and Merit and Ethan have done nothing but stand by their shifter friends. The animosity is over-the-top and irritating.
We are also getting seriously tired of Gabe's shit. He talks out of both sides of his mouth, letting Cadogan take risks for the Pack while refusing to step up and officially declare the Pack allies of Cadogan. But even more infuriating in this installment, was Gabe blackmailing Merit and Ethan, as well as Mallory and Catcher, into helping solve the mystery of the attack. All four of them fought beside the Pack, and all would have volunteered to help if they had been asked. We've seen them put their asses on the line time and again for their friends, and even for people they don't know. There is no reason to believe they wouldn't have this time. If Gabe keeps treating his friends this way, he deserves to lose their friendship.
We got SO fucking annoyed with Gabe, (and we've ALWAYS had a soft spot for him). But he is now on our last nerve. He was an unforgivably rude ass to Ethan and Merit (and Mallory and Catcher!) in this. And we refuse to make any excuses for his behavior as we have in the past. Sure dude, you can give one hell of a speech. And yes, we got goosebumps when you howled, "Tonight, you hear us roar." He lifted his head and unleashed a howl that sent shivers down my spine-" but we are so over your bullshit with the vamps. (Fave thing about Gabe, he was SO the right person to help Mallory... and for that, we will be forever grateful.)
But it was almost gratifying to see that it isn't just vampires that Gabe manipulates and keeps things from. He's clearly less than forthright with shifters, making us wonder if keeping his cards close to his vest is just his leadership style. Or if he's just an untrusting jerk. We suppose only time will tell. His special relationship with Merit has allowed us to cut him slack in the past, but that slack is rapidly wearing thin.
Once again there were problems being dealt with in all of Chicago's groups, humans, shifters (along with the supe populations in general), and vampires. But the development in vampire political intrigue is the most exciting, it's the thing that had us thinking about this book for weeks after finishing it. It was two books ago that Merit promised Lakshmi a boon for her help in securing the House against the GP, but never in our wildest imaginings did we think that Lakshmi's request would be for Merit to talk Ethan into attempting to displace Darius as the GP's head.
Zee, took some convincing, though: When Lakshmi actually spelled out what she wanted from Merit. My heart sank, I'll admit it. Did I want Ethan to have anything to do with a bunch of politicians lording themselves above everyone else? No. I felt like there were too many inherent issues in their rules, structure and policies, a deep corruption. A sense of entitlement. I find myself extremely paranoid and skeptical in the face of these things, perhaps because of the country my parents call home? I wasn't happy. But Barb said something to me that was later proven to be absolutely true. Who better than Ethan to turn it around? Honestly, who better?! And by that ending, that perfect ending, the best ending to a book I've read in a while, I was a believer.
The more we think about it, the more perfect we think that development is. As Lakshmi says, "But he is worth the battle. He'd bring peace and honor to the GP, which have been lacking of late." Ethan may be arrogant, imperious, and a perfectionist, but he is also noble and pure of heart. He has proven that he is willing to sacrifice himself for the good of his vampires, and that is what the GP is sorely lacking. Ethan knows firsthand the apathy the GP has shown to the needs of the North American Vampire Houses, and also the unique challenges they face, which are so different from what they were when the GP was founded. It's past time for a change, and who better to lead that change?
Oh Mallory. We were livid with her for many books, from her bitchy complaining that Merit didn't respond to her needs quickly enough, to constantly tearing down Merit's feelings for Ethan, to hypocritically accusing Merit of throwing away their friendship for a boy, to attempting to rearrange the natural order by making Ethan her familiar. In short, Mallory was a raging bitch for a long time. After Ethan's resurrection we didn't think that we could possibly ever forgive Mallory. But in House Rules Mallory actually defended Ethan to Merit and our frozen hearts cracked, just a little bit. Then in Biting Bad she was so full of remorse when she used magic in defending Merit and herself. The old Mallory had no remorse, and seeing her genuine struggle made our ice crack a little more.
Wild Things gave us Mallory back, as it did for Merit. We got to see Merit forgive Mallory and accept their new paths, new roles in one another's lives. Mallory has been working diligently on her recovery, is clearly trying to accept her new place in the world, and to make amends for the damage she's done. And we couldn't love her more for it. Gabe describes her struggle, and the reason we're ready to forgive her, perfectly: "There are those among us who have erred, deeply and significantly. Who have wounded the world and broken themselves. The worst of them lose themselves in their errors. The best of them crawl back, one foot at a time, and seek to amend their breaches. That is the way of the brave."
Mallory... we now like you better than we liked pre-Catcher Mal in the first book! You are a completely new person and we love it! (although Zee kinda wishes the word "pretty" was not mentioned every single time she is on page, and we believe it would be foolish to ever completely forget the things she's done.)
Green Eyes Prophecy
It was way back in Twice Bitten that Gabe showed Merit a vision of the future with a pair of green "eyes that looked everything--and nothing--like Ethan's" so we've been wondering about that vision for some time. Our curiosity really got piqued over the past several months as Chloe Neill teased us about the "Green Eyes Prophecy" on Facebook and Twitter--the evil author! We've speculated about it, but no one seemed to have a definite idea about what it might be...until Merit flatly told Ethan that it was about a child--their child.
We're not really sure how we feel about this development, to be honest. None of us are huge fans of our favorite vampires having children, and we kind of resent the implication that a female hero can't be complete without procreating. But, in the Chicagoland world, it makes sense. It actually makes perfect sense. CLV vampires are more human than in any other mythology, since they never actually die, but just sort of evolve in their transition. And we've had a long time to prepare for this, so it's not an out-of-left-field surprise. Plus, early in the series, and a few times along the way, Merit has lamented the fact that she had, in fact, envisioned having children, resenting that the choice was taken from her. And Ethan's reaction to the news of the prophecy was so incredibly joyful, that it made us a little excited, too. We're still a little nervous about this development, but we learned to always trust Chloe Neill. She is an author whose goal is to entertain us, and we have complete faith in her.
We Love Love
Most of the Wenches and our Wenchy friends agree that we are so over the love triangle trope. It's overdone, it's more irritating than interesting, and it takes away from the genuine development of love between two characters. No one exemplifies that more than Ethan and Merit. Their stops and starts weren't the result of a manufactured tug of war between two suitors, they were the result of two stubborn people protecting themselves from the fear they felt at the idea of opening themselves up to someone else (as Barb discussed here). But after all of their struggles they are truly, completely together, devoted to one another, in work and in life, and it is absolutely glorious to behold.
MEthan... absolute fucking perfection. We cannot stress enough how much we love these two both together, and separately. This happens so rarely. We love how they both influence each other in the best possible ways. The trust, the comfort, the familiarity.... their relationship is a thing of beauty.
We got butterflies when Ethan relaxed himself in front of Cather and Mallory enough to rest his head on Merit's lap, we were blown away by Ethan's joyous reaction to the discussion of the green-eyes prophecy, and we cried along with Merit when she joyfully greeted Ethan after his incarceration. Their relationship is magnificent, and after all they went through to get here, we will never tire of reading about it.
We cannot get over the PERFECTION that is Ethan. We really can't (as evidenced by our Fangirl Friday post on him!) A few books ago, we would not have believed he would be so fucking epic! But he is.. he just is.. and he continues to get better every single time we read a new Chicagoland novel. If you think he's made you swoon before, in Wild Things, you might need a fainting couch because of those pesky weak knees Ethan causes. The way he accepts and absolutely REVELS in his love for Merit makes the butterflies in our stomachs go crazy. There are just too many amazing scenes that made us sigh to list. *sigh*
Just when you think you've seen it all in Merit's world, Chloe Neill writes something that totally makes you sit up and pay attention. All was going well with the shifters and then, harpy attack. HARPIES. Followed by epic fight scenes and Merit & Ethan kicking ass and saving tons of shifter lives (without being blackmailed into it Gabe... ahem.) Also, ELVES. Fucking elves. It was a fascinating new culture in the Chicagoland supernatural world. We kinda loved how they were so unlike any of the other established supernatural creatures in these books.
Damien Garza........ Damien and his energy efficient car.... Damien and Boo........ that is all.
We LOVED Tanya's sister, Emma! And Tanya. Our hearts were in our throats when the harpies were attacking and Merit was trying to save Tanya and Connor. We would have been devastated had anything happened to them. And Gabe needs to start treating his so called friends better if he wants to keep them.
Speaking of Emma. Can Damien and Emma PLEASE get a novella or short story??? Pretty please?
Catcher. Fuck you Catcher. You sour faced grumpy old fart in a young man's hot body. Seriously, he sounds like the most unpleasant being on the planet! WHY anyone would want to be around him is a mystery. The only person he seems to be a little normal around is Jeff (and that too, early on in the series) otherwise, he's ALWAYS described as wearing his typically dour expression. Not smiling. Cranky, grumpy, etc. Snow white's rejected dwarfs. Yeah, cranky geezers are so attractive. No wonder he wears funny t-shirts, he has to project the image that he has a sense of humor and personality somewhere to make people believe he's normal. Ugh.
Are all Cadogan vamps awesome? Because it sure seems that way! MORE LUC AND LINDS! AND MALIK!!! I heart Malik. The Librarian is awesome, and now everyone knows his name! Brody sounds interesting (even if I don't approve of the ketchup with crisps deal), love new Cadogan vamps!
Zee's Minor issues :
- I feel like the baddies get mild, almost non-punishments. The HORRID mayor. Reagan... maybe I'm a bloodthirsty Wench?
- Catcher. I just get annoyed by him. Mallory can do better.
- The hostility the shifters have towards the Cadogan vamps of all people. After everything they've done!
Things Zee loved :
- Mallory checking out Ethan and Ethan preening and enjoying the attention.
- EthanSullivanIsMyMaster dot net... I love you Chloe Neill
- Everything to do with Damien.
- FATHER PAUL!!!!
- Merit being a very kick ass, adult, sassy, vampire Nancy Drew! "Sentinel of Cadogan House, protector of the weak, defender of the innocent." indeed!!!
- Ethan grabbing a slice of pizza without a fork, plate or napkin and diving right in! (And the looks on Merit, Mallory and Catcher's faces!)
- The new medals, and the way Ethan gave them to everyone. He truly is the most amazing Master vampire of a House.
- Malik comforting Merit. We really do need more Malik page time.
- Luc, I love you, but honey, if you ever say Star Wars and Star Trek are interchangeable, I will whup your fine ass and bury you under a mountain of tribbles. Sincerely, Zee
Barb's General Musings
- Now that I've read "High Stakes" I want more Lindsey. I realize there isn't nearly enough Linds, and I have a million questions, now.
- Chuck Merit is awesome. His concern and love for Merit is so beautiful, and it makes me wonder who Merit would have become if not for his love. In WT his musing that Merit had become part of something bigger is very like my conviction that Merit's life, her job, is about to get even bigger.
- Berna still feeding Merit is delightful, but even moreso is her flirting with Ethan. Ethan telling Merit that he "won Berna" cracked me up, as did Berna greeting Ethan with, "hello, man." I also love how Mallory and Berna's relationship has developed into mutual respect.
- Gabe's speeches and ceremonies are wonderful. He is such a foil for Ethan, both masters of motivation, with Gabe's style more earthy and raw while Ethan is more polished. Another reason I love the idea of Ethan leading the GP is that is would put him on the same level, power-wise, as Gabe. They would both be a leader of leaders.
- Have I ever mentioned how much I love the process by which shifters change in the CLV world? I love that it is pure magic, with no painful stretching and changing. Just magic. Perfect.
- Oh lord, Ethan in battle. Rawr! So fierce, so sexy. I adore that he is a badass soldier!
- Damien Garza--Chloe Neill just keeps giving us more and more mind candy. Yum.
- I love cocky, arrogant Ethan. So much more than I should. "I have all the hard-ass vampire cred." Yes, yes you do, you sexy bastard.
- I laughed SO HARD at Merit imagining that Aline's cat was a wolverine. Just hilarious. Merit's thoughts, in general, will never, ever, not me amusing to me.
FAVORITE QUOTES :
"I was more in love with him than I'd imagined was possible. Not just infatuation. Not just lust. But love - complex, and awe-inspiring and utterly frustrating." - Merit
"You know, I always thought you'd be a teacher. You love books, and knowledge. Always did. And then your life changed, and you became part of something bigger. That's your job, Merit. That something bigger. And it's okay that you have to do it." - Chuck Merit
"You're armed, too?" Ethan nodded. "A blade, like yours. A matched set," he added with a smile, tugging on the end of my ponytail. "And we'll see what we'll see."
"Damien Garza was a good reminder that people were rarely what they seemed, that judging a book by its cover was a remarkably inaccurate way of taking it's measure."
"You were propositioned by magic mist?" Gabriel mildly asked.
"Technology didn't make humans less blind; it only made it easier for hate and ignorance to spread."
"Did you tell him about my heroism? Laud my bravery? Extol my fighting virtues?" "I told him you fainted at the first sight of blood." - Merit and Luc.
Gabriel grinned. "She has your number , Sullivan." "And my heart, for better or worse."
"You're a better woman than I am Paige" - Luc
Too many great Ethan quotes. Which we do not want to spoil. Just read the book!
So, those are our many, rambling thoughts about this absofuckinglutely fantastic book! We're confident that it was a game-changer, and we can.not.WAIT to see where the game is going next. Bravo, Chloe Neill, you knocked it out of the park. Again. We are completely awed by you.
|Standing ovation from the Wenches.|