IN REVIEW: Twice Bitten by Chloe Neill

Released: July 2010 355 pages
Publisher: New American Library
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-451-23064-5

Merit became a vampire, not against her will, but couldn’t really say no since she was unconscious and dying. It’s not what she would have chosen, but has decided to embrace it.

I love this heroine. She’s headstrong, sexy, intelligent, and flawed. She embraces her new strength and speed, continuing to become the best fighter in Cadogan House. You won’t want a hero saving this female. She’ll fight along side any man and probably end up saving him. She makes the difficult decisions and sticks to them. She’s the complete package.

Merit’s life is anything but calming down. An old nemesis continues to threaten, an ignored desire demands attention, a new mystery must be solved, and new friendships are made. Sounds like a lot going on, but the book reads smoothly thanks to its author, Chloe Neill. Since the series is narrated by Merit, we are able learn the rules of her new life as she learns them. Rather than taking precious time to explain how a noviate and Sentinel is suppose to act, we learn through Merit’s mistakes, challenges, and friendships.

Speaking of friendships, Merit is grieving over her fallout with best friend, Mallory. Mallory is the only person that truly understands what Merit has gone through with her wealthy, high society parents. A lifestyle that Merit shuns yet is coerced back into for the sake of her new House by the Cadogan House Master, Ethan Sullivan.

Ethan is difficult to read sometimes, but that is because we see him through Merit’s eyes. Darth Sullivan, as Mallory calls him, is impressed by Merit’s determination, strategy, and though he won’t admit it, her constant defiance toward him. Merit is drawn to Ethan for his, well…his looks. Loyalty and protectiveness of his people are also a plus, but she also creates a distance when she sees similarities of her father. There is a political hierarchy with the vampire houses and human society. Ethan plays this role perfectly and will use whatever means are at his disposal.

That currently means Merit is loaned to Gabriel, Apex (alpha) of the North American Central Pack of shape-shifters, to be head of security at a convocation that will decide whether the pack stays in Chicago or retreats to the wilderness of Alaska. Ethan wants the pack to stay, power in numbers if there was ever a human uprising against vampires. The shifters consider leaving to avoid possibly being outed and part of a war if humans attack. Of course, there is someone, or someones, that want the shifters to leave the city and will kill to make that happen. There are fires, gunshots, hand-to-hand fighting, and also some killing. It may sound like this book is all serious, but as always, we have comic relief provided by Merit’s friends, Catcher, Lindsay, Mallory and a few others within the Cadogan House. Catcher’s dry sarcastic comments on everything from Ethan’s behavior to chocolate to Mallory’s growing powers (she’s a witch), and furniture rearranging had me chuckling throughout the entire book. And let’s not forget Neill’s talent for lively banter among all her characters.

I really enjoyed this book. Merit shares a story about an autographed baseball from her childhood that gives insight to her determination even when she is tormented by the outcome. We get to delve more into what has molded Merit into the person she is today. And just like Ethan, that mold is still pliable. I particularly like how we see the strengths and weakness of Merit and Ethan beginning to affect changes in the other, most of the time for the better. And of course, we get to indulge in Merit’s affair with food.


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