I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Berkley on August 14, 2018
Source: the library
Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Kicking It: These Boots are Made for Stalking, Blood Games, The Veil, The Veil, Midnight Marked, Dark Debt, The Sight, Blade Bound, The Hunt, The Beyond, The Bright and Breaking Sea, "Slaying It"
First in the Heirs of Chicagoland urban fantasy series for New Adult readers (and sixteenth in the Chicagoland Vampires series), it revolves around Elisa Sullivan, the first vampire child ever born.
It’s all a set-up for where the future lies for Elisa. We discover her weaknesses and strengths, all through Elisa’s first person protagonist point-of-view. A re-acquaintance with her parents, their colleagues, and an intro to today’s Chicago. I did enjoy that slick bit of humor about Lulu’s Zero Waste car. Seems Elisa has her dad’s preference for a car that can move.
I also like how smoothly Neill inserts that background information on Elisa’s childhood and reminds us of Ethan and Merit’s past and interaction style. And the family, hmmm, jesting doesn’t sound quite right, but it sure feels appropriate, lol.
Neill is introducing three new major conflicts. The first is the European vampires’ desire to achieve the kind of peace Chicago knows. The second is the Pack’s spiritual need to recharge their magic (sounds like a new spin-off series there). Third is the fairies…although, I’m thinking that’s being resolved in Wild Hunger. We’ll see…
It’s the obvious next step in the vampire world, for Chicago vampires have been at peace for over twenty years while the rest of the world’s vampires are still battling each other.
“…let me remind you what happened to the Greenwich Presidium. Self-interest does not serve the long-term interests of any House. Either you work together…or you fall together.”
And from the way the Euro vamps are acting…it’s gonna take a while, what with their paranoia and childish behavior. The way in which they allow events to throw them off. They’re behaving like petulant children who want all the goodies but don’t want to behave.
I dunno. I think that deal Ethan and Merit made with the city was lousy. They did all the work of saving it…and the city expected them to pay for damaging it??? I don’t think so. What’s with this licensing requirement?? WTF?? Elisa makes a good point about the Houses having been in Chicago longer than any of its currently living humans have been alive. Do they charge cops and firemen when they damage buildings, going after the bad guys or breaking windows to battle the fire? I don’t think so. Although, I am in favor of the Ombudsman’s office getting bigger everything. They needed it! Elisa did find a slick loophole in that deal, though.
Wild Hunger is also the start of Elisa learning to cope with her evil side. I wonder if that’s the theme for the story? That you can’t run away from yourself. That you have to explore your weaknesses and strengths and use them, adjust to dealing with them.
While it’s been fun to catch up with Merit and Ethan — and finally meet the kid(!), it’s been a whole lotta tell and not much show. But where it really fell down for me was the “investigation” into the murder. The “powers-that-be” are ignoring all sorts of possibilities…the prejudice in this is tremendous! It’s all we have a suspect, so the case is closed. And yet, there is so much else to consider. It makes no sense and ticked me off. The bad blood with the shifters was lame, especially with over twenty years as allies.
Frankly, I think Neill moved too fast in this. There were a few scenarios where I would have preferred the tension of “getting to know you”. Yeah, I was singin’ that, partly in frustration with the insta-love — definitely a tell ’cause I just wasn’t feelin’ it. And what was with that French group?? I kept expecting magic to pop up and say “over here”. As for the big conflict…well, heck, it suddenly popped up and was almost over with before we got there.
And Gabriel has his own warning at the end. It’s a cliffhanger in my book, ’cause now I can’t wait until the next installment!
Being the only vampire child ever born isn’t the sweet spot so many think, for Elisa hasn’t been able to carve out a separate identity, to learn who she is as a person. Well, a sort of person. The dark side of her birth is the monster that rode inside her. The one only her frenemy, Connor Keene, knows about.
Their past does make working together easier, for they know how far to trust the other, but when the assassination of a diplomat brings old feuds back to the fore, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation.
Elisa Sullivan left Chicago four years ago, looking for her own identity and to escape the temptation of the dark magic that enabled her birth. She now has a degree in sociology with an emphasis in sup-human relations. Ethan and Caroline Merit Sullivan are her vampire parents and the de facto king and queen of Chicago. Joshua Merit is Merit’s father and Elisa’s grandfather. And just as cheap as ever.
Lulu is Mallory and Catcher Bell‘s daughter (they’ve moved to Portland to give Mallory a fresh start). Mallory is a powerful witch while Catcher is a powerful mage/wizard/sorcerer as well as very skilled in swordplay. Eleanor of Aquitaine allows Lulu to live with her. NO nicknames for this black cat.
The European vampire peace conference is taking place here. Jessamine Franklin is the mayor.
Cadogan House is…
…one of four vampire Houses in Chicago and where Ethan is Master and Merit is still Sentinel. Kelley is now the head of the Cadogan guards. Luc had been head and is now second-in-command in Malik’s place. Margo is still the House chef. Delia is the House doctor. Brody is a Cadogan guard.
Washington House is…
…where Uncle Malik Washington (formerly Ethan’s second-in-command) is now Master. His wife is still Aaliyah.
Dane is with Grey House and had dated Elisa. Navarre House is the fourth one.
The North American Central Pack (NAC) of…
…shifters is led by Gabriel Keene, the Apex; Tanya is his wife. While they live in Chicago, their main headquarters is in Memphis. His son, Connor, the prince of wolves, is two years older than Elisa, and they’ve been frenemies since childhood. And he has seen the monster Elisa hides. Thelma is the beat-up motorcycle Connor got for his sixteenth birthday. Emma Garza is Tanya’s sister, and she’s an attorney. Eli Keene is Connor’s uncle.
Connor’s aunt Fallon married a white tiger, Jeff Christopher. Tabby is a panther shifter and Connor’s girlfriend. Little Red is the Pack bar owned by Berna. The Carpathian is a train car diner the Pack patronizes where Natalia is a waitress.
Riley Sixkiller is Lulu’s ex-boyfriend. Miranda is one of the contenders to be the next Alpha; Jax is one of hers. Aurora, Alaska, is the spiritual home for all Packs.
…grew in power and took over a run-down block and created a park and castle. Claudia is still their queen and has taken a consort, Ruadan, one of the newborn fairies. Emain Ablach is the “green land”, the original fairy homeland. The Ephemeris is a fairy almanac.
The Ombudsman’s office (OMB)…
…is the liaison between the Chicago PD and the supes. Chuck Merit, Elisa’s great-grandfather had been the first, but retired 10 years ago. William Dearborn is now the chief ombudsman — and he’s all about the show and lookin’ good. Roger Yuen is second-in-command (and should be in charge!) and the Associate Ombudsman. Theo Martin and Petra are assistant ombudsman. Theo started as an intern and took over reception when Marge retired. Petra is also the lead on the tech crew and an aeromancer who communes with the weather. (Her dad moved to Wisconsin where he’s an accountant.) Clarence Pettiway is the office guard.
Hammett is one of the cops who will help out. Leo’s is Elisa’s favorite coffee spot. The river nymphs are now fashion designers. Jolie Brennan is a human who chose not to leave. A good thing for Connor and Elisa.
École Dumas is the only European university for the supernatural and is affiliated with Maison Dumas (it is all about intellect and cleverness, after all), one of four vampire Houses in Paris. Marion is the Master of Dumas. Seraphine “Seri” is a Strong Psych with a sense about people, emotion, and truth and fiction. Odette is Seri’s assistant. Javi is a vampire doing his year of service.
Maison Boudillon was the House of the vampire who made Seraphine. Maison Chevalier (Paris) includes the charming (and very political) Victor. Maison Solignac attacked Maison Sainte-Germaine (Calais), as they expected a bigger cut of the Calais ports.
French vampires can choose their own House. They also share patrols with humans to keep tourists and citizens safe.
Other European Houses include…
…Germany with Gerda Kreitzer, Tomas Cordona is Master of Casa Cordona in Spain, Ireland, Denmark, Scotland, Iceland, and Sicily.
Sorcha had been an evil sorceress who tried to use it to take over the city, using her creature, the Egregore (Dark Debt, 11, Midnight Marked, 12, Blade Bound, 13). The excess of the magic washed over all the supes. Mrs Vilichnik had been Elisa’s hated piano teacher. The Canon is a collection of vampire laws.
The Cover and Title
The cover is primarily muted blues in that night sky, roiling rings of cloud framing the full moon above a crowded nighttime cityscape. In the foreground, Elisa, her long wavy blond hair cascading over her shoulder, is in a deep purple turtleneck halter and black jeans, holding her katana horizontally, resting it across her shoulder and behind her neck, as she stands on a flat, gray roof above the city, a short two-rail barrier behind her. The info blurb at the top is in white with the author’s name immediately below. A round “badge” on the left provides another info blurb about the series. At Elisa’s knee, the title begins in yellow and below that is a narrow banner in light blue with a black background to showcase the series information in more yellow.
The title is what Elisa fights every day, her Wild Hunger that could go so wrong.