Review: Drink Deep by Chloe Neill

There may be spoilers from previous books in the series if you have not read them. I’ve tried not to reveal anything that happens in Drink Deep but it’s very difficult to express my opinion about this book without going into some detail. So, read no further if you want to remain 100% spoiler free. Comments are open and un-moderated for spoilers so keep that in mind if you decide to read the comments as well.

I was disappointed in the way that the previous book in this series, Hard Bitten ended. There was a major cliff hanger at the end that basically left the reader with no hope that things could be set right, outside of the author reaching out to her fans saying, “Trust me”. Usually in a cliffhanger we are left with possibilities and room for speculation but the way that Hard Bitten ended, there seemed to be no hope. It was a downer, and I just did not like it. However, because I have come to love this series I really hoped that somehow, it would all make sense in Drink Deep.

I’ll start by saying that I was once again disappointed. I opened this book really wanting to be blown away and have all the pieces fit into place. But unfortunately, the big cliffhanger from the previous book was not addressed until the very end of this book. I found it very frustrating and even distracting waiting to finally find out the what and the why of it all. And then when it finally came, I was confused. Not by the explanation and resolution but by what seemed like an almost apathetic atmosphere in which it all takes place.

Show Spoiler »

Ethan was a major player in this series and also Merit’s love interest. They had strong feelings for each other and Ethan was loved deeply by the vampires in his house. But once he “comes back from the dead”, we get a little “Woohoo, Ethan is back”, but somehow it was anticlimactic and the overall feelings coming from Ethan’s House and from Merit seems subdued and muted.

End Spoiler

 

Although Ethan and Merit didn’t rush to romance in the past, the romantic arc was certainly significant in this series. But what I found frustrating in Drink Deep is the way the reader is steered away from that romance and what it meant to Merit. If had not read the previous books in the series and started here, I think I would understand that Merit and Ethan had a relationship but I’m not sure if I would actually pick up romance or just assume it was a significant friendship.

As I said, I felt distracted when reading this book because I was eager to get some resolution to the cliffhanger. I’m almost certain that is why I feel like this book dragged on so slowly. Because after reading the entire book and then taking a look back, the overall story was good. It’s just that there was this great big question mark hanging over my head getting in the way. There were some very unexpected twists and turns in this book and while I like that I was caught by surprise, I was left with a dark feeling by a huge betrayal at the end.

I describe my feelings about this book as dark because I was left wondering where this series is going and why. And again, Merit’s reaction to what happens in the end seemed muted and didn’t make sense to me. She reacts to the betrayal by a character that is very close to her, but doesn’t acknowledge any sense of loss where it would seem appropriate.

All I can say is I find myself feeling cautious about any further investment in the characters in this series because no one is safe. Will I quit reading this series at this point? No, because the stories are good I do enjoy this world and it’s characters. But in Drink Deep I wanted a return to the feel and atmosphere of the previous books in the series but it’s clear that this isn’t going to happen.

I almost copped out and didn’t rate this book because I was all over the place with it. If I were to rate this book on a purely emotional reaction, it’d be pretty low. But as I said, after taking a step back and thinking about the overall story, then the rating would have to be a bit higher. I’m not going to lie, I was disappointed in Drink Deep but it’s not a fail for me either.

Rating: C-
Drink Deep by Chloe Neill
November 1st 2011 by NAL Trade
Urban Fantasy
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Comments

  1. says

    I gave it a C- too…but there were times I wanted to grade it lower. I was definitely disappointed in this one. Maybe the next one will turn things around? I hope!

  2. Jen says

    I gave it 2.5 stars so I guess that is pretty close to C-. Everything I would rant about falls into the spoiler category so I will just say blah. That is how I felt about the book. Blah.

    • says

      Feel free to discuss. My main disappointment was in not addressing the spoiler from Hard Bitten and the lackluster way it all came down in the end. I am however glad that there is no solid love triangle at the moment.

      • says

        Jonah was what annoyed me the most. What was his point? I could almost like the guy if there had been no Ethan. But there was/is an Ethan. Why even have him in the story?

        And what was the deal with the scene at the end where he sees them coming out of the house? It sure didn’t seem like a step aside kind of thing. More like Jonah saying he was going to bide his time because Ethan/Merit would screw up somehow, someway and he would be there to step in. As long as he wasn’t the one that caused it.

        • Layla says

          Jen, that’s what I took from the scene outside the gate also. That he’s such a stand up honourable guy that he wont interfere but wants Merit and will be there when Ethan/Merit split up for reasons that have nothing to do with him. You already know that’s what I think is gonna happen at some point down the line. No triangle.

          Honestly, Jonah just never came off as being more than a cardboard character for me. It just seemed like Neill went to great pains to write him as being so compatible with Merit, without any apparent flaw, and therefore irreproachable.

          The scene at the gate just reinforced this idea for me.

        • says

          See – that has me worried. I was glad there was no love triangle in this book – but Jonah isn’t done with Merit I don’t think.

          Because you are right – otherwise, what is his point in the storyline?

          Plus Merit hasn’t told Ethan that secret regarding Jonah yet…..that’s not good.

            • Jen says

              Unfortunately, I think we are destined for a triangle. I fail to see Jonah’s point otherwise. I don’t see him fading off into the night now.

                  • says

                    The thing is, it’s not that I don’t like Jonah, I’m indifferent to him. I just don’t want the angst with Ethan. Merit is pretty flat emotionally but I hate to see Ethan caught up in it.

                  • says

                    I read an interview where she said she won’t do a triangle.

                    So I’ve heard others speculating that her and Ethan will eventually break up and Jonah will be the HEA.

                    I don’t see that as happening..right. RIGHT?

                    • Layla says

                      Yep, Chloe definitely stated that she had no plans to “create love triangle shenanigans” over the course of the series because she doesn’t care to read that kind of thing.

                      On your earlier question, Sophia. There were a couple of things introduced in DD that could lead to a break up. Merit now being in the RG, having another partner to go on missions with, and having to keep it all a secret…that’s just unworkable if you are in a relationship with a vampire from the same house who you also work missions with. Merit could well choose duty over Ethan if she thought it would protect the house.

                      Then you have the fact that Ethan could be used as a familiar by another sup, like Mallory of the Mayor (I think the Mayor). They go to Nebraska together but may not necessarily come back together. So the RG thing might be a moot point anyway.

                      I really hope I’m wrong about this.

                    • says

                      What gets me is that this isn’t fun and exciting speculation. It’s a version of “how pissed off will I be” when what I don’t want to happen actually happens.

                      Hmm, did that make any sense?

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