Some books bite

While doing research for the Nov-Dec/09 Lite of the Mind about fictional UChicagoans, I came across Chloe Neill's Some Girls Bite (2009), the first title in her Chicagoland Vampires series. I was intrigued—and evidently I wasn’t alone. Some Girls Bite is highly rated on both Amazon (4.5 stars) and Goodreads (4.21 stars).

some-girls-bite.jpgCould Merit, a University of Chicago grad-student-turned-vampire after a late-night attack on the main quad, be an interesting character? Could these novels be that vampiric something to fill the void until Joss Whedon decides to leave the Dollhouse and return to Sunnydale?

I couldn’t resist and finally bought the book, deciding to blog my verdict. But by the time the book arrived I had had time to think. I couldn't be an objective reviewer with all of my excitement. I have too much vampire baggage.

My back-up plan was simple: assign the review to the Magazine's pop-culture–savvy summer intern, Jake Grubman, '11. My instincts were wrong. Jake made it to page 120 before begging to cover something else. Anything else.

Magazine proofreader Elizabeth Chan, who read Stephanie Meyer's complete Twilight series, bailed me out. She offered to read Some Girls Bite and write a review. For four months the book gathered dust alongside her borrowed Season One DVDs of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and True Blood. I understood her hesitation. I might be leery too if my only exposure to the world of the undead was limited to Twilight's sparkling vamps.

I snagged the book from her desk and gave it a shot over the holidays, a light distraction. It didn't disappoint, but the University of Chicago references are few, certainly not enough to merit spending time with Merit unless you have a thing for vampire lit.

While Some Girls Bite is a quick read (though not for Jake or Elizabeth), there’s better vampire stuff out there, even if the main character isn’t a former UChicagoan. Vampire-fiction fans know you can't beat Charlaine Harris' Sookie for sass and fun, Underworld's Selene for action, and Joss Whedon's Buffy Summers for complexity.

Maybe comparing Merit to those heroines is unfair. At a different point in my life, when my thinking was more in line with that of the Edward Cullen–obsessed crowd, I might have enjoyed this new addition to supernatural lore.

Joy Olivia Miller

January 12, 2010