Blood Games (Chicagoland Vampires #10) by Chloe Neill

While Merit didn’t choose to become a vampire or Sentinel of Cadogan House, she vowed to fight for her House and its Master, and she’s managed to forge strong alliances with powerful supernaturals across Chicago. But even though Merit has had wild adventures, this may be her deadliest yet…

A killer is stalking Chicago, preying on humans and leaving his victims with magical souvenirs. The CPD hasn’t been able to track the assailant, and as the body count rises, the city is running out of options. Vampires and humans aren’t on great terms, but murder makes for strange bedfellows. Can Merit find the killer before she becomes a target?

 

Format: Audiobook

Rating: 4/5

I feel that my reviews of books in this series are starting to sound redundant, so I’m keeping this one pretty short. In summary, I absolutely love Neill’s writing — the characters are all alive, and more importantly they’re unique. The plots of each novel are good by themselves—there’s enough content to justify any given book, the pacing is good, and I’m never bored. And the over-reaching plot is clear and, while there’s not necessarily one main conflict tying them all together, I like how each books fits into the general scheme of things and how the world continues to develop.

Merit and Ethan tackle some emotional drama that somewhat annoyed me in this one. Yes, Ethan has a big scary past. Yes, Merit knows this and is already over it. No, Ethan shouldn’t be freaking out about it. Yes, Merit’s job is to protect Ethan. Yes, Ethan is all alpha male and wants to protect her. Why is this supposedly only just now an issue, after ten books in the series? These things may have been getting on my nerves. The good news is that they’re not overwhelming by any means.

Overall, this is still a great series, and I’m quite pleased that Neill is still holding strong on this one.

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Posted on October 2, 2014, in Urban Fantasy/Paranormal and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. This is one of my favorite series, and Ethan is my favorite male vampity guy, ever. I agree with you on pretty much everything you said, though I enjoyed the conflict between the two of them more in this book than in any other, largely because Merit handled it so much better than she usually does. I felt like it was meant to show us how much she has grown, emotionally. I dearly loved the scene in the closet…I could picture them perfectly. And I also love the way Neill writes a love scene…all of the passion, none of the crudeness that often accompanies this kind of scene today. It was blazing hot, but beautiful, too.

    All in all, the series gets better with every book, to me. Great review!

    • I loved the closet scene! I could totally picture it 🙂 And I’ll definitely agree that Merit handled it significantly better than normal. It was nice to see her growing as a character, and more importantly as a partner. I just kind of felt like the topic of contention was better suited for an earlier book. It almost felt like Ethan went backward (insecure, etc) in order to show Merit developing. It’s always nice to see his softer side, but timing is really important.

      All in all, it was a really great book. One hell of an ending in terms of vampire society!

      • I can see your point. His insecurity could have worked earlier, too. And maybe for some, better. I read it as his realization that with things coming down the way they were, Merit was going to find out in way more detail than he ever wanted her to know, just how awful he had been at first, and it just hurt him to think about her knowing that much. I think if he was going backward, it was just because this was going to be so much more than she’d ever had to face. And I guess I thought he was entitled to go through major insecurity at different points along the way. She is the first he’s ever had this kind of relationship with, and as he said in an earlier book, “You undo me.” (A line I loved.) He just came undone for a bit, maybe.

        I never mind seeing a powerful man made vulnerable by love, I guess, even if it happens later in the story than it might have. It WAS a great book, and holy moly. What’s coming next? We are set up for several different possibilities. I suspect Merit and Ethan will be facing it as a stronger team than ever, though, so they MUST prevail. I won’t have it any other way. And no more crap like happened in Book 4 (I believe it was) thank you very much. I threw the book clear across the room and had a hissy fit that lasted for two days. 😀

      • Hmmm, I definitely see your point. She does seem to “undo” him, and it’s good that we actually get to see that. At the time, to me it kind of felt like his version of getting cold feet with the whole GP thing—which I could totally understand. As I mentioned in the review, it was a little nit, and I still absolutely enjoyed the book.

        And yeah, I can’t wait to see what Neill has in store for us in the next few books. Talk about a serious change of events!

        Tee hee … My mom just finished that book a week or two ago (and I hope she doesn’t read my reviews or comments for this series because talk about spoilers!). She called me and was like, “What?! How could that happen?!” And she even told me she didn’t think she was going to read the rest of the series because it just wouldn’t be the same. I THINK I talked her into to continuing anyway, but haven’t touched base.

      • I was so horrified, I just couldn’t believe it. And I couldn’t figure out how she could possibly undo it, and have it believable. I remember her fans going bats*** crazy, and her telling them to calm down and have faith, so I tried to do that, but when I started the next book, it was with a sinking feeling it could never be fixed properly. I was SO glad to be wrong! Hope your mom hangs in there. It’s so worth it.

        I enjoyed hearing your perspective on this last one, though, and maybe we’ve both seen how it could be taken different ways. I’ve got to find time to browse your site more thoroughly, so I can see what other series we both read. I love talking books, and some of the releases of the last few weeks have been first rate. (Magic Breaks, The Winter Long, and Skin Game come to mind. Oh, and Book 2 of the Raven Cycle trilogy, The Dream Thieves. Now THAT’S a powerful book. Maggie Stiefvater is something else.)

      • I was playing catch-up at the time, so have no idea what the internet was abuzz with, but I could imagine. I just immediately started the next one. And I think I was walking from the parking lot to my desk during that whole awful conclusion and I was like, “How the hell am I supposed to get any work done now?!”

        And I actually haven’t read most of the books/series you mentioned. I never really liked the Kate Daniels books (though, in fairness, I did listen to the first one as an audiobook, and I haven’t really given them a chance as actual books). Also didn’t care for October Daye :/ Maggie Stiefvater has been on my TBR for what seems like forever—It’s my goal to finally get through her books this fall/winter. And I’m very slowly working through the Jim Butcher books—I read the first three or so when that was all that was out, and didn’t keep up with the series as new releases came out. (The TV show they made out of the series was awesome, but didn’t do much for me wanting to continue reading). So I only just re-read Storm Front a couple of months ago, and I need to get on with the rest of the series (I’m thinking I’ll do those as audiobooks). So in summary, stay tuned, because I’ll be getting around to a few of the ones you mentioned in the relatively near future 🙂

  2. Let me just say that there are some series out there that get so much better over time, you can hardly believe how they started out. Both The Dresden Files and the Toby Daye books are that way. Actually, Kate Daniels is, too. I’ve learned when reading Book 1 of a series to look for two things…does the world seem interesting and like it has potential for some real drama, and do I like the main character enough to see how they develop and who they turn into, long-term? If the book does that much, I’ll give it a chance and read at least one, maybe two more. If I don’t like the main character, or think the world is creepy, I’m usually not even going to finish the first one.

    With Toby Daye, I was intrigued because of the Fae. I love books that center on them, and usually they are more of a side element. So while the first one was maybe 3-1/2 stars for me, I continued, and I can honestly say, every single book has gotten better and more dramatic, and so interesting. Seanan McGuire has become one of my very favorite authors. Her world-building is second to none, really…unless it’s Jim Butcher, but he’s building whole universes, practically. Celtic legends of every sort are so well done in the series. From selkies to kelpies to barghests, mermaids, trolls and more. (One of my favorite books featured the legend of Blind Michael, and had a creep factor of about 5,000. I would wander around for days, peering out windows afterward, whispering ominously…”He rides…..”) *shiver* Plus…there is not another character out there like Tybalt, King of Cats. I adore the caithe sidhe, and Tybalt is such a wonderful character. Toby grows up a LOT over the course of the books, and that’s part of what makes them so good. She had a lot of issues to get past, and one by one, she works her way through them.

    Kate Daniels, I was sort of the same way about. I liked Kate fairly well, but mostly, I thought the world of Atlanta with the constant shifting between the Magic and the Tech, had great potential. It has not disappointed, growing more complex and entertaining as it goes. And Curran, the Beast Lord, is awesome, as His Furriness.

    But Harry Dresden is hands down my favorite. I couldn’t bring myself to watch the series because the casting was just not right, to me. Harry is tall…like basketball player tall…maybe 6’7″. And is really cute, with a LOT of black hair. (Looking at his book covers is always a treat). So that bothered me. Plus Murphy is a tiny little blonde, and a few other things just looked wrong to me. If I had never read the books, I might not have minded, but I had…so I did. 😀 But it’s a series that I would call a Must Read for Urban Fantasy fans.

    I’d definitely recommend giving the Toby Daye books another shot. The world is just so much fun, and again…there’s Tybalt. *happy sigh*

    • We were actually reading the Toby Daye series with the book club I used to participate in monthly (back before the boyfriend and the crazy job). To be honest, I couldn’t even bring myself to finish the first one—the characters just bothered me, and the writing didn’t sit well with me. I think I just genuinely didn’t like Toby, and I had a bout of ADD and decided to read something else instead. Throughout the rest of the series (next 4 or 5 books, maybe?) most of book club didn’t have nice enough things to say about the other books to get me interested again :/ I may give it another go, but I’m reluctant enough that it might not do any good anyway. I was thinking about trying that one as an audiobook, though—I know I already have Rosemary and Rue on Audible.

      I honestly have no idea what it was about Kate Daniels I didn’t like. It was long enough ago that my tastes may have changed, so I’m considering picking it back up. I’ve been assured by several urban fantasy readers that I just need to make it past that first book and the rest are great, so it’s definitely somewhere on my TBR …

      And … yeah, the casting in the show was awful for those books. At the time, I didn’t have terribly many TV options, so I watched it anyway. The rest of the show wasn’t bad, if only because they didn’t really TRY to emulate the plots of the books and instead just did one-off cases (well, until they announced the show was getting canceled and they ended with an episode from what I think was Storm Front).

      • Well, if it doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t work. Kind of like me with the Rachel Caine series that you’ve reviewed several books of. I love Rachel Caine. I adored the Morganville Vampires, and the Weather Warden series grew into one of my favorites, ever. I love the djinn. But I couldn’t stand the new one. I just hated the whole concept of her being dead and having to have those thingies injected to keep her alive. And I hated it enough, I couldn’t read past book 1, which I can’t even remember if I finished. So sometimes, it just doesn’t work for us, for whatever reason. But sorry you’re missing out on Tybalt. Hahaha.

        I always think it’s interesting when people share similar tastes in books, but hit on certain things that one loves and the other doesn’t. Just goes to show we are each unique, in spite of our commonalities. 🙂

        Do try Kate Daniels again. I’ll be once you get into it farther, you’ll like it. Ilona Andrews books are usually very, very good. And I hope you’ll continue with the Dresden Files. You’ll love Harry as he begins his journey, which definitely has him changing in power and personal growth, and so much more. Ah, that Jim Butcher! He’s something else!

        🙂

      • I always find the comparison interesting as well. I swear I have a love-hate relationship with Caine. One minute she’s the best writer ever and I can’t wait to read her next book. The next I’m wondering why I was so anxious and I find it a struggle just to finish what I’m reading. I think sometimes the way we receive the books has so much more to do with timing than anything else.

        I will definitely make a point of getting back into Kate Daniels and Harry Dresden. 🙂

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