Written by: Chloe Neill
Drink Deep is the latest installment in author Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series. In this volume vampire Merit is not having the time of her life (after death). She’s still mourning a loss, but finds it hard to do with a receiver observing and changing the rules of her house, Cadogan House, a shake-up among the ranks, a new partner, a stressed out best friend who’s unavailable, a new vampire hating mayor, a mercenary out for genocide, and all of this is before Lake Michigan unexplainably turns black. Merit must find the cause of this while dealing with both personal and political traumas.
It’s no secret that I absolutely love this series. It is just a spectacularly written piece of work that grabs you from the first page of the first book. And like other series by book 5 things are greatly changed. Author Chloe Neill upset some fans with a major plot twist in the previous installment, Hard Bitten, but she assured them that they’d be rewarded for their patience. Well I think Neill must somehow be related to Joss Whedon because in Drink Deep she’s putting many beloved characters through hell. And of course our heroine Merit gets the worst of it.
This kind of a middle book is incredibly important. You can’t just have your characters be happy all the time or they wouldn’t be interesting. Neill clearly knows this and isn’t afraid to put the screws to the characters (and readers) to keep things interesting and the stakes (no pun intended) high.
Merit remains a strong female role model here. I’ve said before how much I appreciate the strength of this character and how she’s so well formed and wonderfully written. She has a lot of things effecting her but ultimately she makes up her own mind and is her own woman. But she’s not a superhero. She has her weaknesses as well, which keeps her relatable. Overall Merit is who you’d want your daughter to emulate. In Drink Deep everything is seemingly against her but she still manages to solve a mystery and keep strong for those who need her.
Speaking of the mystery, one of the things Neill does so well in this series and continues in Drink Deep, is to center each book around some type of mystery. And these are always really good. They lend a bit of a detective quality to the books and when you’re not wrapped up in the characters, you’re busy trying to guess whodunit. Drink Deep’s mystery is just as great as previous ones and it’s investigation gives us even more insight into more supernatural beings and their worlds. And the conclusion is unguessable and stunning.
Yes you will probably come out of this one a little bit angry at Neill once again. She’s not resting on her laurels and this universe gets shaken up once again in many significant ways by the end. There’s also a ton of plots to be dealt with in later installments that will leave you immediately wanting to pick up the next book. But you have to trust in a vision and clearly Chloe Neill has one. I will say that as angry as some fans might get by all the upheaval that occurs here, there’s also some big things that will cause squeals of delight. I personally cannot wait to read what happens next.
Now with series I like to tell you how easy it is for a first time reader to start with a particular book. The bad news is that this is not a good starter book. It’s a middle. There’s a lot of story and character and emotion that you need to catch up on, even though major events are recapped in the first few pages. I’d go back a few books, you’ll do it anyway after this one sucks you in.
So overall for fans of the Chicagoland Vampires series you must pick this up. For fans of general fiction and strong females I’d say pick this up. Or pick up an older entry in the series with this one to get a little more detailed backstory. This really is an amazing read and you won’t regret a page of it.
It comes out on November 1st.