Wild Hunger, by Chloe Neill

Chloe Neill's Wild Hunger is very clearly a spin-off. It's a fun, easy-to-follow spin-off that works reasonably well as a standalone novel, but there are plenty of areas where I felt like the author was skimming over huge chunks of characterization or background, lest she bore her preexisting fans with stuff they already knew. I definitely wish I'd started with the earlier books—not that there were any huge gaps in this story, but I frequently felt like I was getting the Cliffs Notes version of what I suspect was some very entertaining world-building.

As the only known “born” vampire, 23-year-old Elisa Sullivan is something of a celebrity. She grew up in the heart of Chicago's supernatural community, but has been living in Paris for the past few years. Everyone expects her to come back to Chicago and assume her rightful place as the de facto princess of her parents' household, but Elisa has a dark, uncontrollable side to her vampiric abilities that only she—and Connor, her staggeringly handsome childhood frenemy—knows anything about, and she finds it easier to bury her impulses when she's far from home. But when she is summoned back to Chicago to help with a vampire peace summit, it becomes increasingly clear that she won't be able to ignore this aspect of her power forever.

Wild Hunger occasionally tips a little too close to out-and-out fanservice (probably because it's a second-generation story and the author doesn't want to undermine any previous happy endings), and Elisa and Connor make for a slightly predictable “squabbling childhood friends-to-lovers” couple. Happily, the mystery was enjoyably twisty, Neill has a gift for snappy dialogue, and I was more invested in the novel's secondary characters, who will, I hope, eventually feature in stories of their own. I suspect I simply started at the blandest point of this series—I bet both the earlier installments and the future installments are/will be more detailed and original—but this was still a totally worthwhile investment of $13, and has alerted me to an entirely new series of entertaining vampire novels that sound perfect for whiling away any spare hours this fall.
Posted by: Julianka


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