Narrator: Cynthia Holloway
Series: Chicagoland Vampires #2
Published by Audible Inc. on October 6, 2009
Genres: Romance, Urban Fantasy
Length: 11 hours 44 minutes
"Vampires in Chicago!" You'd think headlines like that would have provoked the fine citizens of the Windy City to take up arms against us bloodsucking fiends. Instead, 10 months later, we're enjoying a celebrity status reserved for the Hollywood elite - fending off paparazzi only slightly less dangerous than cross - and stake-wielding slayers. Don't get me wrong. Joe Public isn't exactly thrilled to be living side-by-side with the undead, but at least they haven't stormed the castle...yet.
All that will change once they learn about the Raves - mass feeding parties where vampires round up humans like cattle and drink themselves silly. Most civilized vampires frown on this behavior - but that doesn't make good copy for a first-time reporter looking to impress his high-society family.
So now my 'master' - the centuries-old yet gorgeously well-preserved Ethan Sullivan - wants me to reconnect with my own upper-class family and act as liaison between humans and vampires...and keep the more unsavory aspects of our existence out of the media. But someone doesn't want people and vamps to play nicey-nice - someone with an ancient grudge.
My Initial Reaction…
I enjoyed this book a lot more than the first one; so much of what happened I the first book was too convenient for me – from Merit’s transformation to vampire and her grandfather serving as the ombudsmen to Mallory’s sudden discovery of her magical powers. But in Friday Night Bites things are not coming so easily and it’s a lot more believable.
Cynthia Holloway continues to underwhelm me, but she’s bearable as a narrator. She doesn’t make characters come to life like my favorite narrators do, but she also doesn’t butcher them like the horrible narrators.
I enjoyed getting to know Merit better in this book. On one hand, she’s continuing to train with Catcher Bell and she’s struggling; her inner-vampire is proving challenging for her to control and she’s even beginning to wonder if something wasn’t quite right with her change. On the other hand, we’re seeing Merit interact with her family and in her previous comfort zones. For me, these talents were much more believable; she’s capitalizing on family connections, doing research in the Cadogan library, and thinking strategy.
I also really enjoyed Merit’s relationships with Morgan and Ethan – the scenes with both of them are fun reads; Morgan is so sweet, even if their chemistry is off. Meanwhile Ethan is beyond frustrating, but their chemistry is really captivating. We’re getting to know both men better and I’m not sure who I’d like to see her work things out with more. With Selena gone, Morgan is a new master vampire and he doesn’t quite no how to handle that role yet. It seems like he’s more vulnerable as a result – and I can’t decide if I find that more endearing or frustrating because he can be a bit childish. Ethan on the other hand is very confident. Sometimes it makes him a flat out ass, but his confidence can also be intoxicating. It was a real treat to see him and Merit getting to know each other better, especially when out in high society.
Mallory, Catcher, Jeff, and Chuck Merit all continue to be interesting characters for me. We particularly get to see a bit more of Catcher and Mallory, not only in terms of their whirlwind romance, but also in a teacher-student capacity. Mallory is getting to know more about her powers and I’m loving every glimpse we get of her. I hope she remains a prominent character as the series progresses.
For me this story has two main themes: (1) Merit growing into who she is as a vampire, especially within Cadogan House, her new home; and (2) her efforts to uncover and stop a story about suspected vampire raves. I found Merit’s casual dialogue with the other vampires in Cadogan House a little frustrating – most the time they don’t talk like centuries old vampires, but 20 year old frat boys and sorority girls. I did, however, enjoy her efforts to come into her own as Sentinel of the House, from her work with the other Cadogan guards and training with Catcher to her investigative work. Her investigative work is by far the most interesting part of the plot. Seeing her re-enter high society to uncover what’s going on within a family she used to be close to, the Breckenridges. It’s not exactly the warm homecoming she was hoping for and trying to understand why becomes an even bigger part of the mystery.
The plot in this book was much better than the first and I have high hopes that the series will continue to improve, especially since the characters have developed so much more in this book. I see a lot of potential for growth, fun, and romantic sparks in future books.