(Chicagoland Vampires #7)
Release: February 5, 2013
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In a city full of vampires, trouble never sleeps.
At the tender age of 27, Merit became a sword-wielding vampire. Since then, she’s become the protector of her House, watched Chicago nearly burn to the ground, and seen her Master fall and rise. Now she’ll see her mettle—and her metal —tested like never before.
It started with two . . . Two rogues vanishing without a trace. Someone is targeting Chicago’s vampires, and anyone could be next. With their house in peril, Merit and her Master, the centuries old Ethan Sullivan, must race to stop the disappearances. But as they untangle a web of secret alliances and ancient evils, they realize their foe is more familiar, and more powerful, than they could have ever imagined.
"I'm no James Bond," he cannily said. "I loved the Mercedes. It fit me perfectly. The Aston just...didn't."
"So you traded up?" I asked, walking toward the car and opening the door. "Do you treat your relationships the same way?"
"Yes," Ethan gravely said. "And I spent four hundred years shopping before I met you."
It was comments like that that kept me around, even when Ethan was being otherwise insufferable.
House Rules is the book in the Chicagoland Vampires series that I've been waiting for for quite some time. This series has taken us on an emotional roller coaster over the last few books: tension, romance, death, tension, resurrection, tension...but in House Rules the series finally comes full circle. I'm always up for a good paranormal murder mystery and this book focuses on solving the murders of vampires around the city. There's a balance in the plot between that and preparing for the split with the Greenwich Presidium.
This book feels more like the first four books of the series, with a great supernatural mystery that needs solving and a combination of affectionate and humorous moments between all the characters. The emotional undercurrents that fuel this series are certainly still there, especially with the political problems facing the Cadogan house now that they've decided to defect from the Greenwich Presidium and this, but a lot of earlier turmoil has either been resolved or is on the road to being resolved.
"Call us what you want, Sentinel. We already have a name for you." [...]
"No you don't."
"Yes we do." Lindsey stirred her spoon noisily around the walls of the yogurt cup to get the remaining drops. "You're Methan."
"Methan. Merit and Ethan. Methan."
Ethan and Merit share several wonderful moments in this book and I loved seeing them work together as partners. They really stood together as a united pair for most of the plot and that was like breathing fresh air after everything that's happened with these two!
Another favorite aspect of this book for me was the continuing resolution between Merit and Mallory. I love where Mallory's character arc has gone since the shocking events of the fifth book in this series. Neill found a clever way for Mallory to both absolve for her actions and rehabilitate and I enjoyed seeing the two women slowly heal the rift between them.
And, of course, I took a moment before heading inside to share the evening's most important news in a quick text to Mallory: ETHAN EATS TOAST WITH A FORK.
It took a moment before she responded. DARTH SULLIVAN = PRETENTIOUS HOTTIE, she responded.
Fans of this series who stuck through all the hardships of recent installments will be rewarded with House Rules. And, even better, book eight is just around the corner with Biting Bad set to release in August of this year!
P.S. - We finally get to see Jeff Christopher shift - but, I won't spoil it for you, it's too good!
Recommended for fans of: vampires, shifters, fraternities, supernatural politics, and pretentious vampires hotties.
This review is based on an early finished copy of the book, provided by the publisher.