Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Review: Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill

Wild Hunger
(Heirs of Chicagoland #1)
Chloe Neill
Release: August 14, 2018
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In the first thrilling installment of Chloe Neill's spinoff to the New York Times bestselling Chicagoland Vampires series, a new vampire will find out just how deep blood ties run.

As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she's a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he's prince of the Pack and its future king.

When the assassination of a diplomat brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever.

You know those times when you really want to love a book but you just don't? That was me with this book. I haven't been able to pinpoint exactly why because all things considered I should have loved this. As someone who loved the original series a lot, maybe I had too high of expectations. I think I was expecting this to be like another Chicagoland book and that's something this wasn't even though there are a lot of similarities to the original series. Overall, I thought it was okay.

Elisa is not Merit. She's more serious and prone to angst than her mother without the delightful snarkiness that made me love her. And that missing snark really changes the tone of the story. One thing that bothered me and it was probably just me but Elisa's pop culture references were a bit... dated. The book is set twenty years after the epilogue of Blade Bound and she's making Seinfeld references that I had to ask someone to explain to me. Maybe it comes from growing up with a bunch of immortals but a lot of the pop culture referenced in the book felt old by today's standard let alone in the future. Although, it did make my heart happy to see that people were still sorting themselves into Hogwarts Houses.

I will say that I liked Elisa even though the excess angst got on my nerves at times. She's really a perfect blend of her parents. I will say that the overall character arc for Elisa is really similar to Merit's arc in the first couple Chicagoland books with how they both characterize themselves as "monsters" and try to hide that something is different about their supernatural side. With Elisa having to hunt down a killer during the peace talks and figure out the new big bad's plan before it's too late, it felt like the plot was very similar to the original series'. And while that's not a bad thing, it would have been nice to see some variation in the plot.

What I did love of was Elisa's friendship with Lulu, Mallory and Catcher's daughter! Lulu was probably my favorite part of the story along with the new Ombuddies team. They were seriously a delight to read about. I'm still on the fence about Connor as a love interest. I can see the romance is slowly starting to build but I feel like we didn't get to learn enough about him. Then again, I wasn't sold on Ethan until like the fourth book of the original series. I will say I was really hoping we'd see more of the shifter world with Connor as a main character. There's still a chance since we will get more of that as the series continues though.

One thing that I will forever applaud Chloe Neill for is her ability to write action-packed books with some very excellent fight scenes. And I loved that she did give us some updates on characters from the previous series even though most of them didn't make an actual appearance in the story. Like Gretl said in her review at VBC, I wish Neill had written something else first and come back to this idea a few years from now. I too would have really liked to have seen her write some novellas exploring some of the minor characters from the original series like the necromancer, Annabelle.

Honestly, I think the series will get better as it continues on but this one definitely suffered from UF first book syndrome. If you're looking at picking this up, I would recommend reading the Chicagoland Vampires series first but know that you don't have to understand what's going on. Neill does a good job at giving us all the necessary backstory. Ultimately, I'm interested in reading the next book. I just didn't enjoy this one as much as I wanted to.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.


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