Friday, December 18, 2009

HBIC Review of Some Girls Bite- Emily

Title: Some Girls Bite
Author: Chloe Neill
Page Count: 352 pages
Publisher: NAL Trade
Genre: urban fantasy
Copy for review compliments of the public library

50 words or less: Getting changed into a vampire wasn't Merit's idea, but it's become her life, in a world where vampires are out in the world. Is Merit up to the task?

More honesty, straight out of the gate: this book was rad. It was the perfect blend of sassy, smart and fun, and my first thought at the end was, I have to get the next one!

Merit has certainly had a rough go of it by anyone's standards. She's the victim of a brutal attack, changed into a vampire against her will, is plunged into a new world with rules and responsibilities of varying levels of discomfort for her, and to top it all off, everyone else around her seems to think that her being a vampire is the start of a grand new adventure, while she's feeling more like she's on a trip she didn't sign up for.

Vampire society is intricate and shot through with tradition, ritual and hierarchy; the story begins shortly after vampires have come out to the world to admit their existence. They're marketing themselves as an eccentric but harmless fringe group of society that just wants everyone to get along; Merit's getting brutalized and then changed against her will definitely does not help with that image.

To top that all off, Merit finds herself plunged into awkwardness with two powerful (and very different) gentleman vampires- Ethan, the Master of her House, and Morgan, the Second of another House. Sparks fly with Ethan; things are at more of a simmer with Morgan, and through it all, Merit has to wonder about what each guy's true motivations are and where she fits into the grand scheme of things.

Through it all, though, Merit has a strong sense of self and a really interesting level of self-reflection, both of which added to the narrative and made her a very believable character. Merit is not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for what's right, and that in and of itself makes her a very unusual vampire. She has a high level of physical strength, which is explored throughout the novel, but I think her real asset as a vampire is that she's not all that into being a vampire. The scene where all the other new vampires are talking about why they wanted to be turned and she has to gussy up her story so it's less...ugly...than it really was stood out to me as an example of how Merit stands apart from the rest of the House.

The supporting cast of characters was well drawn and really supplemented the story; Merit's friends are supportive and I'm as intrigued to watch the relationships develop between them as I am to know what happens at Cadogen House. The politics of the vampire world are detailed enough to be interesting but not so detailed that they bog the story down or detract from the character development. This is a very character-driven book, which is nice.

It's really difficult to explain a lot of facets of this novel without giving stuff away, and I'll warn you right now, my answers for the BWB discussion questions are a minefield of spoilers, so consider yourselves duly warned. With that said, if you like good worldbuilding, intrigue, mysteries, and just a little bit of spice, you're in for a treat here. I'm definitely a fan of this series and I really hope the gods of interlibrary loan can pull through for me and get me a copy of Friday Night Bites before the holidays.

Overall Grade: A
Blog with Bite Score: 4

Discussion Questions
  1. Obviously the issues of social status and class are used in this story, do you feel Merit is above the simplistic ideology in this book, or is she the typical character: shuns away from the idea of being better than others but loves her status, in both the vampire and human worlds?I think that Merit is very reflective; she doesn't have any illusions about the privileges she enjoyed as being a member of the Merit family but she does understand that having those privileges came with a steep price. If anything, her experiences of people just wanting to get close to her to get a piece of her family's action was a good dress rehearsal for becoming a vampire. Although her human family is kind of bitchy to her, they're nothing compared to the other members of the House- there are a lot of people who want to see her fall flat on her face. Knowing how to deal with negative people is a skill I think Merit's going to find quite useful, and hey, if she can benefit personally from her situation, why shouldn't she? It's kind of crazy to expect her to be a hermit because her family (human or otherwise) has resources.
  2. What motivations do you believe pushed Amber to behave the way she did? Her cattiness seemed rather shallow, but could it only be cattiness that had her acting the way she did in the end? I think, above all else, Amber looks out for Amber. She does what she will find most amusing at the time and takes her cues from whoever she thinks is most powerful at the moment. She was Ethan's Consort when it seemed like that was the way to go; Celina has what Amber perceives to be a good plan with plenty of goodies and power to go around, so Ethan's not the best deal anymore. Amber is drawn to power and will do anything to get it without considering who she might hurt in the process.
  3. Do you see a House of her own in Merit's future? I do, but I see her coming into power as a result of someone else's power play. I think a lot of people still think Merit can be controlled, and they would be in for a rude awakening if they put her in charge of a House and then thought to manipulate her.
  4. Which vamp are you hoping Merit ends up with? Someone who's not a douchebag would be my vote. Right now it looks like Morgan's the way to go, but I can see Merit already having a hard time letting go of Ethan, although I admit, if I walk in on the apple of my eye having sex with someone else that would probably kaibash my feelings right then and there. I think whoever she does end up with has to be ready to commit, though; reading Merit's reactions to her BFF Mallory finding true love convinced me that Merit won't stand for anything less.


ParaJunkee said...

Well done. Great review and in complete accordance. I like you answer to quest #1. - Parajunkee

Anonymous said...

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prashant said...

Great review and in complete accordance.

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