Book Review: House Rules

House Rules (Chicagoland Vampires #7)
Published By: NAL/Penguin
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Page Count: 352
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Adult - Urban Fantasy

It's not secret that I am a HUGE fan of the Chicagoland Vampires series and the fabulous Chloe Neill. I adore everything about these books: the writing, the characters, the humor, the danger. The anticipation waiting for the next book to be released is akin to those moments when I counted down to Santa's arrival each December. I truly love spending time in Merit's Chicago with her, the other Cadogan vampires, and the other supernaturals who linger in the Windy City. If you haven't read this series yet and you're a fan of urban fantasy, you need to remedy that straight away. I'd recommend not reading this review any further either; it's almost impossible for me to discuss this novel without spoiling something from a previous one. Trust me - you don't want spoilers where this series is concerned. It's so much better if you don't see things coming.

House Rules picks up where Biting Cold left off - Cadogan House is about to face off with the nasty dictators that run the GP. The moment has come for Ethan to lead his vampires into a new era; an era in which Cadogan will no longer be part of the GP. The rogue status will allow all Cadogan vampires a larger measure of freedom, but it will come with a hefty price. Especially because the head of the GP wants to wipe Cadogan House off the map and he's willing to do just about anything to make it happen. 

Furthermore, Merit and Co. have murders to solve as vampire politics swirls in the air. Vampires are being killed in a systematic way seemingly at random. Once again, Merit has to save the day, but will she be in time to prevent more deaths?

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and spending time with my favorite characters. I am constantly reminded how perfect Chicago is for the setting of this series. It has the right amount of intrigue and darkness to harbor supernatural activity. Chloe Neill also adds local flavor which makes the story feel even more authentic and plausible. I love novels that have a strong sense of place and this one certainly delivers in spades. Reading a Chicagoland Vampires novel is like taking a vacation to Chicago - it comes complete with sights, sounds, and yummy food.

I did find this one to be a bit slow after Biting Cold's break neck pace. House Rules wasn't bad by any means, but I was expecting more action. This edition focuses more on the vampire politics and less on Merit kicking bad guy booty. It's hard to get too upset about that when the humor and relationships are still what draws me to the series. Those elements were present from start to finish. I also love watching Merit grow and asset herself as she becomes more comfortable with her new life. This is the first time where Merit seemed more vampire than human.

One Last Gripe: I don't really have one except for the one I have already mentioned - House Rules felt slow compared to Biting Cold

My Favorite Things About This Book: Merit's sense of humor and her relationship with Ethan

First Sentence: It was like a scene from a divorce: belongings divided into piles; books labeled with one owner's name or the other; and everyone emotionally exhausted.

Favorite Character: Merit

Least Favorite Character: Lacey

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.