The Heroic Hearts Anthology series reminded me of how engrossing it can be sink my teeth (heh) into a new urban fantasy universe. Based on the short story I read I wanted to read more. The short story:
Silverspell by Chloe Neill. A Katana wielding Vampire princess & An Alpha shifter prince team up to track down a coven of witches looking to stop or start the apocalypse. Intrigued CWs: murder, kidnapping, magical coercion.
It featured characters from Neill's second series featuring vampires in Chicago, The Heirs of Chicagoland series. I quickly read the first two, before wanting to go back and read the original series. I then proceed to read about the original couple, Ethan and Merit, who have a hot and cold relationship through the early books. I am not sure I am going to read all of the original series, but I know have enough context to really sink into the second series.
Min Reviews for the Heirs of Chicagoland Series:
Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill (UF with Rom elements, WW/WM, Chicago-set) Elisa, the only vampire born not made, returns home to Chicago to grapple with secrets, new love interest and try to keep fairies from derailing peace talks. (CWs: murder, kidnapping, betrayal).
Wicked Hour by Chloe Neill (UF with Rom Elements, WW/WM, Road-trip). Elisa keeps growing into her power, coming to terms with her monster and falling deeper in love with Connor. (CWs: murder, betrayal by leadership ignoring a sexual predator) . Highly enjoyable cast.
Shadowed Steel by Chloe Neill (PNR/UF WM/WW, Heirs of Chicagoland #3). Consequences of choices push Elisa to claim her ground & independence and forge a stronger bond with Connor (CWs: stalking, murder, kidnapping, mentally ill antagonist).
Devouring Darkness by Chloe Neill (Heirs of Chicagoland 4, UF /PNR, WM/WW)I’ve really enjoyed how Neill has had the heirs grow in power, experience & independence from their parents while still loving them! (CWs: prejudice, blood magic, betrayal) .
I really love how Connor and Elise talk through their conflicts and set boundaries with each other and their parents. A lot of the series focuses on this second generation finding their place and their own identities while trying to keep loving relationships with their powerful parents. Learning how to ask for help and learning when to go it alone.
Mini Review for Chicagoland Vampires:
Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill (Chicagoland Vampires 1, UF with Rom WM/WW) Turned without her consent, Merit must overcome her resentment to work with her new Liege to unconver who is targeting and killing women. CWs: violence, murder, toxic parents, HP references.
Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill (Chicagoland Vampires, UF, WM/WM) Merit's romantic entanglements prove a flashpoint in her relationship with her best-friend Mallory who is dealing with her own monumental life change. Neill doesn't hesitate to show Merit make mistakes in dealing with people she loves and care about, including being unfair to Morgan, Mallory and Catcher. CWs: murder, betrayal, violence, HP references.
Twice Bitten by Chloe Neill (UF, WM/WW, Chicagoland Vampires series). Ethan is an ass but he is 400 yr vamp. Merit and Ethan consummate their attraction but Ethan immediately backtrack when he is unsettled by the strength of his interest. CWs: murder, betrayal, violence, HP references.
I am not a huge fan of hot/cold relationships and unilateral decision making so I am not sure if I am going to sign on for the rest of this series, but I do enjoy the politics, especially the tensions between groups that public versus those who are closeted. The major themes revolve around solidarity and mutual aid which have strong queer undertones.