Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Also by this author: Some Girls Bite (Chicagoland Vampires, #1), Friday Night Bites (Chicagoland Vampires, #2), Drink Deep (Chicagoland Vampires, #5)
Series: The Chicagoland Vampires #3
Publisher: Berkley Books
Source: My shelves
Merit, Chicago’s newest vampire, is learning how to play well with others. Other supernaturals, that is. Shapeshifters from across the country are convening in the Windy City, and as a gesture of peace, Master Vampire Ethan Sullivan has offered their leader a very special bodyguard: Merit. Merit is supposed to protect the Alpha, Gabriel Keene—and to spy for the vamps while she’s at it. Oh, and luckily Ethan’s offering some steamy, one-on-one combat training sessions to help her prepare for the mission.
Merit must accept the assignment, even though she knows that she’ll probably regret it. And she’s not wrong. Someone is gunning for Gabriel Keene, and Merit soon finds herself in the line of fire. She’ll need all the help she can get to track down the would-be assassin, but everywhere she turns, there are rising tensions between supernaturals—not least between her and a certain green-eyed, centuries old master vampire.
Twice Bitten is the third book in the Chicagoland Vampires series – no matter how confusing that is. Darynda Jones and the Charley Davidson series taught me that the number in the title corresponds to its placement in the series and here… that is not necessarily correct. What can I say? She trained me well.
A quick series recap from book one (although: I’d definitely check out my review rather than reading this one if you’re unfamiliar with the series): Merit (grad student) is attacked by a vampire. To prevent her from dying, Ethan Sullivan (Master Vampire) turns her immortal to save her life, and she becomes Sentinel of his House (think Warrior/Strategizer/Bodyguard). Merit is super attracted to Ethan Sullivan (her Boss), and he with her. She’s a Super Strong Vampire, and Evil awaits in the shadows! Plus she has a super cool best friend + rag-tag fun group of friends of various supernatural bents’ <3
Oo-rah! Back to book three. In this one, shifters enter on stage left and we get to learn more about other supernaturals!! And by that, I mean just shifters 😂 They are my favorite paranormal creature to read about, as you well know by now, so I was quite excited to see them join us.
What I liked:
✨ Merit: My girl is really coming along, here! She’s just as fierce, sassy, and practical as always, but I loved watching her force herself to come out of her shell and trying to embrace a social life. It’s hilarious! She starts to meet other people from Cadogan House (oh look at me learning to spell that word finally!!), have more confidence in her vampiric abilities, and
✨ We had a real mystery!! I love political intrigue in my books, you know I do! But having an honest-to-goodness mystery to wrap my teeth in for this installment felt so… urban fantasy! This series definitely leans heavily on the paranormal romance side of things, and it was nice to see something “typically urban fantasy,” for a series that’s so normally… not.
✨ SHIFTERS!! There were shifters!!! Did you hear about the shifters? Okay, so they were introduced in the last book, with the whole Breckenridge fiasco. But Jeff is sincerely one of my favorite characters, so I was THRILLED to see more of him in his element, and others like him.
“He’s not the only one who appreciates my love of food.
I mean, you might consider how well I’ve trained you.”
He arched a dubious eyebrow, and his voice could hardly have been more sarcastic, “Excuse me?”
Luc chuckled… “Oh, I got this one, Sentinel. Liege,
respectfully, you had this meeting catered.”
Ethan’s expression went a little wan.
I considered that a victory, too.
✨ Merit really stood up for herself in her relationship. She’d put herself out there, and Ethan swatted it away. Then he kept showing how *conflicted* he was. Merit did not pull her punches while explaining to him that he can’t have it both ways, saying no and then feeling undecided about it, that she was better than that. Hell 🙌🏼 yeah 🙌🏼 she deserves better than that.
✨ Mallory is back! Merit’s friendship with Mallory is one of the best things in this series. I love this girl-power-friendship and will fight to keep it alive. Thank god they found their way back (even if they have Ethan to thank for it – yuck!) because I really missed them together :/ Let’s never fight again, okay? Lindsay is awesome, but Merit and Mallory are endgame for sure.
✨ Watching all of Cadogan House take Merit’s back – now that was cool. I mentioned previously how I related so much to Merit as a character, for her interest in socializing, but her inability to figure out quite how to make friends. But in this one, people who didn’t even know her took her back (socially) against their own Master, and that scene felt pretty good.
✨ Cadogan is going to be a fun House. The bar scene where Cadogan literally rents out a bar for the night for a vamps-only bitching sesh about Ethan?? PRICELESS. They bash about his “tics and quirks” or whatever they called it, all of his little idiosyncrasies that he does that cracks them up/makes them want to scratch him on the daily. This was the moment I understood vampire culture the most, and appreciated, too, the glimpse at normalcy for the boss/employee relationship.
Points of Discussion:
✨ Where did all her friends go? I missed Merit’s rag-tag group of friends! This was a very Ethan&Merit book, which makes sense given all the drama and angst that went on there. But I loved Jeff, Catcher, Lindsay, Luc, the rest of the guards, the Twins, the Grandpa, etc! I know we’ll get them back, but I missed them. Then again… we had private fighting lessons with Ethan. That might be a win. Must think about this more…..
✨ We didn’t do the normal “oops, I fell into a relationship” thing! Then again… kinda did. So things progress… rapidly… between Merit and Ethan in this one. I was so thankful that they didn’t do the immediate sprint away, ripping their hair out like whatdidIdo?whatdidIdo?whatdidIdo? Instead, Ethan just did the typical stupid male thing later, so it was a very temporary win.
He winked, “I do like a girl with moxie.”
Well, he was definitely going to like me.
✨ I want more all-encompassing supernatural things. I know this is a vampire story. But why are we reading a book that includes several different supernaturals, and we only ever interact/talk about/feature vampires, maybe shifters? I don’t want the rest of the cool crowd to be invisible background dancers!! I want to meet them and say hi and have them interact! This is my favorite part of the Mercy Thompson series, so I was looking for more of that here, too, admittedly.
✨ I wish we could have exes that weren’t assholes. And no… I’m not necessarily talking about the smoldering Morgan – at least, I hope I’m not. We have Lacey entering the picture from Ethan’s past, which is pretty upsetting, actually.
Twice Bitten was straight-up enjoyable; like a light-hearted, paranormal (but with action!) shot of serotonin. I respected Merit a lot more in this one, not because of anything in particular, but just generally as she grew as a character. I loved the glimpse of vampiric culture through Merit making new friends, the tumultuous ride of Ethan and Merit (which hopefully has settled just a bit now), and definitely the SHIFTERS!!
Series Reading Order
< Check out all my reviews from this series here! >
Other books you may enjoy…
< Check out more vampire romances here! >
Have you read a Chloe Neill book? Are you a vampire or a shifter lover? Let me know in the comments down below, I’d love to hear from you!