Don't Stop The Party

Fangirl Fridays - Chicagoland Vampires

You know, as long as we've been around, I am shocked me and Barb haven't gotten around to writing a Fangirl Friday post on this series. I mean, yes, we've talked about this series a lot. And I mean a lot. We've done FF posts on both Merit and Ethan, on Merit's love of food here, Barb's talked about how awesome Chloe Neill is here. I went a little insane and wrote an entire post about ONE event in the series (A PILE OF ASH ON THE FLOOR!! *SOBBING*) and how it destroyed my life here. I've painstakingly gone through a billion people to get the dream fancasting just right for the series here. In fact, one click on our Chicagoland tag here will show you we quote it on a regular basis and talk about the series a whole lot more than we do about other stuff. 

We get pretty intense about CLV.

Our love for this series and the author could not be more apparent. It's obvious in every nook and cranny of this wonderful blog. But I thought I'd just give you guys a brief reminder about why this series ranks so high on our lists. 

Click through to read more!

FUN. When I first Some Girls Bite, I wasn't looking for much. I wasn't even sure I wanted to read a new vamp series since the last one I read disappointed me so much it hurt. But within a few chapters, I had changed my mind. It was fun! There's never anything better than a book that just relaxes and lets you have fun! 

I was so over broody vamps in UF and PNR that sulked in dark corners, drank blood out of old glasses (those never look clean.. I mean, I know you won't get sick and die, but rinsing never hurts) and just spent an eternity being boring and living in old houses that any self respecting city would demolish. I didn't know it at the time, but what I wanted were vamps a la Chloe Neill. Sexy without the boring broodiness. FUN! Rich because they'd been around for-fucking-ever and were business savvy. None of that loner vamp stuff in this, they were family! Some chose to live in wonderful harmony together, and some didn't. As an ancient race should, they had laws that governed them... or at least tried to. Leaders, both noble and corrupt. There was humor, there was snark, there was silliness, and usually a good reason to party. And I loved it. 

MERIT had me at hello. It wasn't JUST that she was music to my smart ass, food loving, book loving, snarky as hell mind. I GOT her. I got why she had issues with her family, with being turned, with her life changing so drastically without her having any say in it. I got her friendship with Mallory (which reminded me so much of my own with my bff!) I got her challenging Ethan every chance she could and trying to hate him every damn day. And I loved her.

I did a post on my favorite female leads in the genre way back when we were a baby blog here. And even back then, I wanted to hang out with Merit. At this point in the series, so close to the end. I just cannot get over how far she has come. Our Sentinel is a sight to behold. And she's not even done growing yet. Her journey is one I am honored to have witnessed and she is one of the main reasons these books will always be on my favorites lists. I'm getting a little emotional just thinking about her and how much I love her. How much I love the woman and Sentinel she's become. How much I love her compassion, her generosity, her ferocity with her enemies, her heart, her mind, and her strength. If you've ever doubted a character in a book can kinda become your best friend, get to know Merit. And if you don't fall in love with her a little, especially by the last few books, I'm sorry.. for you.

ETHAN. Oh Ethan. (Let's pretend there are countless heart eyes emojis here) There is no vamp more swoon worthy than you. And literally not another one that makes us feel the way you do with the beautiful things you say. I've talked about Ethan being one of THE sexiest male leads EVER here. And you guys, at that point, he wasn't even half the Ethan he has become since coming back. How do I put into words the magnificent evolution of Ethan Sullivan without sounding like a groupie? I can't! 

Ethan wasn't always perfect. Far from it. But early on, he grew, he learned, he changed. And then he died. And it hurt. But if I had known Chloe Neill was going to bring him back better than ever, I would probably have celebrated a little when it happened. Because there is nothing like the Ethan we know now. He is the perfect leader, mentor, warrior, Master vampire, lover, companion, friend. And he says stuff that actually makes you stop reading for a while because you're either tearing up, sighing out loud, trying to stop being bitter about not being Merit (or in some readers' cases, stop planning on leaving your significant others because they will never measure up, and we all deserve an Ethan) or just because you're so incredibly moved by some profound statement he has made. Ethan now defines Master Vampire for us. There is no competition. And I, for one, would happily call him Sire all.night.long. 

SIDE CHARACTERS. Malik. Luc. Lindsey. Morgan. Mallory. Margot. Gabriel. Damien.. will we ever get more Damien?? I love him. I miss him. Jeff (Fucking Jeff... sigh. He deserves a post of his own.) The leads aren't the only characters you'll come to love. Merit's world is full of wonderfully layered characters you'll come to love (JEFF!) or hate *cough Catcher cough* or be annoyed by *ahem.. Gabe.* Mostly love, if I'm going to be honest. 

Linds, Mallory, Margot are women I desperately want to hang out with. I NEED to be besties with Jeff. Or more. Chloe Neill took us from liking him, to loving him, to being IN love with him and in lust with him. HOW DOES SHE DO THAT?! I want Malik to give me knife throwing lessons, and I want him to have more page time ha! I want to talk pop culture with Luc and tell him how very wrong he was about Star Trek and Star Wars being interchangeable. I love the vampire I always knew Morgan was capable of being. I want Jonah to find love. I want Damien... well.. I just want him. (But I'll be satisfied with reading a novella about him and Emma? Teehee.) My point is, you'll love so much more than the leads!

BADDIES. The good guys are great, but another thing that makes this series perfect is the bad guys. They aren't your run of the mill villains that you can imagine twirl their mustaches, lurk in corners, and carry helpless females away (or any of that other cliched crap!) 

They're well rounded characters. And sometimes, almost too real. You'll get their motivation, you might even feel for them at some point. From the corrupt politicians who strike up alliances with violent bigots, and power hungry family members, to people who lose their battle against the temptation of limitless power to billionaire assholes with secret agendas, and the all too real villains who murder and torture for their own amusement, you'll read about evil in many forms. It will never be just one thing. Greed, power, lust, anger, envy, fear... there are many things that cause people to do horrible things, and this series realizes that completely. 

FOOD. I am seriously always hungry when I read these. Merit is my food soulmate. And one day I will eat deep dish pizza in Chicago. Is it weird that one of the first things that made me love Merit was her "secret" chocolate drawer? Because that was the moment I went "You. I like you." 
There is no higher praise.
I love her passion for food. For sharing that food, and her love of food with those around her. Ethan has come a loooong way when it comes to yummy, non snooty foods, and it has been a joy to read. And who can't appreciate the fact that Merit has gotten everyone in Cadogan to appreciate some stuff they wouldn't have before her. I think we should also thank Merit for keeping Margot happily busy in the kitchen. On a side note, Merit and Mallory almost passing out on the bed in Ethan's room because they ate too many mallocakes is one of my favorite moments ever. If you haven't succumbed to a food coma with your best friend on a couch or bed, you haven't been living! A sugar induced one is extra points. 

VAMP MYTHOLOGY. Hands down one of the things that made me keep reading these books was the unique vampire mythology. It's one of my favorite things about fantasy, writers can make up new rules for their supernatural worlds, and while the classics are the classics for a reason, I always wonder why writers don't have fun with established rules and create new ones. 
Yes, we are!
These vamps aren't restricted to miserable, flavorless lives. They eat. And they enjoy it, well, at least they do now that Merit is here to guide them! They aren't "dead" things that you'd associate with the cold, the dark, the lifeless, and the grey. They're very alive. With heartbeats. They sleep, they dream. They're alive, and colorful. They're just more! And I love being able to read about the kind of vampire I can actually imagine sharing this modern world with us. 

MAGIC. I absolutely love when Chloe Neill describes the magic that exists in the Chicagoland world. It's so much more intricate and present than the vague magic that is usually associated in vamp central series. I've always felt like magic was the beating heart of the CLV world. It binds everything together. One dark wave can affect it all, and Cadogan is always out there trying to restore balance (to the force? Agh. Stay out of my mind Star Wars!) to the magic of their world even when the humans are blissfully unaware of what's happening, and even when the rest of the supernatural world would rather blame them for it. 

The magic that surrounds the vampires, the very different magic of the Shifters, the sorcerers with their magic, the nymphs, the harpies, the elves, the archangels, the lake siren (who I am still waiting to read more about) and all the other creatures, the vamps being able to detect weapons because they can feel the steel of blades, the ceremonies that flow with magic so beautiful I swear I can feel it off the pages. I guarantee you will get chills reading ANY of the amazing ceremonies this author writes. 

CHICAGO. Wench Anne did a post on Chicago having a major role in the series here. The Chicagoland Vampires world is a pretty unique one when it comes to Vampire series. For starters, my favorite thing is, I don't think dark and rainy when I think of it. Which is a pretty standard feeling most vamp series tend to leave a reader with. There's something so bright about the series, the atmosphere is always something that welcomes the reader and beckons them deeper in. 
This series should come with a warning.
I live in Dubai. And I've only started visiting the US recently. But ever since I started these books, I've desperately wanted to visit Chicago! Chloe Neill just makes it sound so amazing that even the miserable cold weather doesn't put me off Chicago! And I loathe the cold! There is nothing better than a book/series that makes you want to experience new lands and meet new people and eat new food. And this one does all of those things! One day I will go there!

It's funny, it's smart, it's got heart. It has ups that make the downs worth it. It is one of the very few series that has actually gotten better after each installment, and after Drink Deep, it was a whole new level of awesome. I can guarantee that someone who picked up Some Girls Bite and then picked up any of the last few would not even recognize the tone of the series. It has evolved, like the characters and the story, like any long running series should. And it is wonderful. I rarely stay invested in series that go beyond 6 because they usually get repetitive, boring, or no longer know what they're supposed to be doing and are all over the place. There is none of that here. Chloe Neill knows exactly where she's taking you, and I am so glad I've followed her this far. Will it hurt when it ends? You have no idea how much. But I just know she'll leave me happy. She'll leave me with an entire world on my bookshelf I will always happily want to return to. A world I'll gladly call home. And a door I'll never really close. 

Midnight Marked is out soon, and Barb and I have had the pleasure of reading an ARC. And you guys, the book was PERFECTION. Absolute fucking perfection. It made me laugh, and cry, and smile, and the one thing this series has always done for me, it leaves me feeling hopeful. And I will always, always love Chloe Neill for that. Mark your calendars, you're going to want to get your hands on it asap! Pre-order it here if you haven't already! TOTALLY WORTH IT! 


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