Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill

In the first thrilling installment of Chloe Neill's spinoff to the New York Times bestselling Chicagoland Vampires series, a new vampire will find out just how deep blood ties run.

As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she's a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he's prince of the Pack and its future king.

When the assassination of a diplomat brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever.

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Wild Hunger is the first installment in the Heirs of Chicagoland series. However, I must inform Chloe Neill’s new readers that it is a spin-off of the Chicagoland Vampires series, which is narrated by the heroine of Wild Hunger’s mother.

Do I believe the spin-off could be read without confusion by new readers? Absolutely. But I may not be the best judge since I know the original series like the back of my hand. I do believe the emotional payoff would be much more for the reader if they read the original series first.

I’ve been waiting not-so patiently for this spin-off, eager and intrigued to see what Neill would deliver when it came to Darth Sullivan and Merit’s daughter. Elisa is everything I wanted and more. Logical. Pragmatic. Compassionate. Empathic. Elisa is a perfect mix of her coldly efficient father and her emotionally driven mother.

Now, this is where I believe it best to have the foreknowledge from the original series. The worldbuilding is explained, but not in an info-dump that would bore and distract readers who already know the what/where/why/when/how. I appreciated how thin it was on giving a rundown on previous events, which means new readers won’t suffer from too much information all at once. However, will new readers need more information? I have no idea.

Elisa is struggling with something not quite integrated inside her, similar to how her mother fought her inner vampire many books ago. This added levels of angst and fear, connecting the reader to Elisa in a human way.


We’ve been waiting for Elisa and Connor since Gabriel showed Merit the prophesy. While this had readers dying to see how it would go down, the anticipation perhaps made me expect too much. While Elisa resonated with me, Lulu was Mallory 2.0, Connor was a smoking hot, broody, smug wolf wearing leather and a motorcycle helmet, they weren’t Merit, Mallory, or Darth Sullivan… they were original, but the nail-biting will they, won’t they, what happens next sensation didn’t inundate me while reading.

I’ve read Some Girls Bite at least 15 times, and the plethora of emotions the book sparks in me can’t be compared. The first handful of The Chicagoland Vampires are by far my favorite in the Urban Fantasy genre. Which begs the question, will I reread Wild Hunger? Probably not.

What was missing for me is the newness feeling of a brand-new series, where the reader learns beside the narrator. Elisa is the first of her kind, with a lot to learn about herself, while taking the reader along for the ride, and I hope more of Elisa’s growth is shown in subsequent installments, because I feel the fae plot overshadowed the reader getting to know our heroine.

I appreciate that these characters are the next generation, the spin-off is a series in its own right, and I tried hard not to judge the books and characters against one another. I was excited to read it, and I am left wanting more, yearning to read the next in the series. However, I didn’t experience that gut-punch sensation, the need to know what happens next, or the secondhand embarrassment I consistently felt for Merit, which made those initial books dig their hooks into me so deeply.

Vampire politics and reemerging fae are the conflict of the storyline, which is fast-paced action and suspense. There’s underlying romance between Elisa and Connor. I’m a sucker for angsty slow-burn, so I’m going to make a very odd request. Elisa is a vampire. I don’t need between-the-sheets action, but someone should sink fangs at some point for the titillation factor… they’re Cadogan vamps, just saying.

I have to admit to holding my breath through the first few chapters of this story. I’ve read and reread the Chicagoland series and I was terrified that my hopes for Elisa’s first book were too high. Fortunately, this is a fabulous whirlwind read. I loved it and I think it is much stronger than the later Chicagoland books.

As Merit and Ethan’s daughter, Elisa is the only born vampire and she has had to live up to enormous expectations her whole life. When we meet Elisa as a new adult, she has so much more confidence than her mother did at her age and she has the benefit of knowing and understanding the supernatural world from birth.

Without offering any spoilers, this book feels more streamlined and coherent than the later books in the first series. This is almost a simple murder mystery at times. It stays true to the original world building. I loved the supernatural politics and the action in the book is brilliant.

I loved catching up with favourite characters from the Chicagoland books and I loved the insights we get when reading from the perspective of Ethan and Merit’s child. As always, this book comments on social and political constructs in a way that feels relevant and important. This story is beautifully written and I’m already looking forward to the next book in this new series. This probably doesn’t stand alone – new readers will want to start with Chicago Bites and follow the story from the very beginning.

I read all of the Chicagoland Vampires books by Chloe Neill and loved every one of them, but they’re not necessary to read before starting Wild Hunger. However, I do think that having read them made me much more emotionally invested in all these characters. Also, if you haven’t had your heart stolen by Ethan and Merit in the Chicagoland Vampires series you’re really missing out! I was obviously very sad to see the series come to an end, but also excited to see Neill was doing a spin-off series with Ethan and Merit’s daughter, Elisa.

I loved that Wild Hunger was the same kind of thrilling action with a splash of slow burning romance that kept me in the edge of my seat. I’m so incredibly curious about how things between Connor and Elisa will play out! Also, Elisa’s character is exactly the kind of kick-ass heroine I would expect as Merit’s daughter. And I think any fan of the Chicagoland Vampires series will have no trouble devouring this new series and falling in love with Elisa’s story. I was completely enthralled from start to finish and now I’m completely invested in all the heirs of Chicagoland. I just can’t get enough of these characters and I am looking forward to read where Neill takes this new series!

5 STARS for Chloe Neil’s Wild Hunger

I read almost every book in the original Chicagoland series with fervor! I could not get enough of Ethan and Merit! This spin-off is about their daughter, Elisa. Elisa was born a vampire due to a spell that Mallory cast. Elisa is the first BORN vampire. She has a hidden secret that even her parents don’t know about, there is a "monster" inside of her that was created along with the spell that made her. After moving to Paris instead of staying at Cadogen house, Elisa comes back to Chicago for peace talks with the House Dumas vampires. The talks do not go as expected as the fairies are up to trouble! Connor, who is next in line for Apex of the wolves, is Gabriel's son. Elisa and Connor grew up together and have a long history of annoying one other. But they're both grownups now and they have some chemistry that heats the book up nicely. They aren't Ethan and Merit, but they aren't bad either! The story was a tad slow in spots and a bit too rushed at the end. But I think I'd be up for what comes next, especially if it has more on Connor and Elisa.

Chloe Neill was born and raised in the South, but now makes her home in the Midwest. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the Chicagoland Vampires series, the Heirs of Chicagoland series, the Dark Elite series, and the Devil’s Isle series.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Wild Hunger (Heirs of Chicagoland #1) by Chloe Neill to read and review.

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