I am still trying to get a handle on the whole reviewing thing, and this time around it is for the final Chicagoland Vampires book from Chloe Neill, Blade Bound. I was kindly provided a review copy from NetGalley.
My spoiler free review of Blade Bound…
After 13 books, the Chicagoland Vampires series is wrapping up – or more precisely, Merit and Ethan’s story is. In book time, it has only been a year since Merit was turned vampire against her will, and she and Ethan have packed a lot of living into those 12 short months. Not only have they waged pretty much non-stop battle against several supernatural baddies, and saved Chicago on more than one occasion, they have also had to fight the prejudices of the very people they try so hard to protect.
There is a lot going on in Blade Bound, both supernaturally and personally, for Merit and Ethan. But the weird thing is, for 90% of the story, it didn’t feel like a finale to me. There is tons of action, lots of drama, some humor and snark, and a long-awaited celebration, but most of it felt to me more like a step towards the end of the series more than the end itself, if that makes any sense. I only got a sense of “The End” in the prologue, which sort of left things feeling rushed. Granted, I really liked the prologue – it was my favorite part of the whole book – but it just didn’t give me the epic finale I was hoping for.
To be fair, I have a weird relationship with Chicagoland Vampires. I want to love it. I have tried to make myself love it. It has everything I like in an urban fantasy, it checks all of the boxes, but I could never get above a solid liking for it. I liked Merit and Ethan, but I enjoyed the supporting cast more. I can’t even blame a hotly debated even in one of the earlier books that turned a lot of people off – I was like that from the start. And it was no different for Blade Bound. I wanted to love it, I wanted to get really involved in Ethan and Merit’s last story, but I couldn’t get above a solid liking. I read most of the book hoping for a clue about who the spin-off will be about, and it might’ve been teased in the final few pages, but I can’t be sure yet. Kind of a let down, but if I am right it could be all kinds of fun.
So, to sum up, Blade Bound had lots going on, but it lacked a bit of the “big book” feel I was expecting. There are some epic events, but squeezing that much in made things feel a little rushed. I got what I was hoping for in the finale, but it was only in the last few pages. If I was doing the star review thingy, I would say a solid 3.
Where do you stand on the Chicagoland Vampires? Where does it rank on your “must read” series scale?