January 31, 2013

REVIEW: House Rules (Chicagoland Vampires #7)

House Rules (Chicagoland Vampires #7), by Chloe Neill
To-be-published February 5, 2013
Publisher:  Penguin
Format:  Paperback - own
Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Rating:  5 STARS

(From Goodreads) 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.

In typical CV fashion, Merit is faced with a problem - a mystery to solve. So, she pulls together the Scoobies to get to the bottom of it. The usual gang is all involved, including Gabe. Can I just say here that Gabe is probably my most favorite supporting character in this series? I love his nickname for Merit and the rapport he has with Ethan. And, he plays strip poker. Regularly. Oh, to have a seat at that table.  

Anyhow, I digress. Speaking of shifters, HOUSE RULES is super special for several reasons, but one of the biggest is that we FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY find out what kind of animal Jeff Christopher turns into when he shifts. And, I have to tell you that I was surprised. And delighted.

If there was an Ass-Kicking Chicks Club, Merit would be the president, secretary and treasurer all in one. And, not just because of her fighting skills. There actually wasn't a lot of physical battles in this book - not as many as in previous books, anyway. It's the Merit essence that impresses me the most. She tries to do the right thing, succeeds most of the time, but not always. She doesn't back down from a fight, especially when she thinks she's right. Even when she has to stand up to the people she loves. 

It seems as if Merit and Ethan are finally on the right track. I'm thankful that, even though it's been a hard road and they really do deserve to be together, things aren't all puppies and rainbows. They still screw up and piss each other off. They are like the alpha couple with normal couple problems. It's very refreshing and relatable. 

After taking the front and center stage in the last two books, Mallory and Catcher are supporting characters this time around. It's a good thing - I think I needed a break from all their angst.

The side story is Merit's involvement in the Red Guard. Will she go through with it? Will she tell Ethan about it? And, if Ethan finds out, will he kick Jonah's ass for being her partner? All those questions are ones that have been posed in previous books and are now answered in HOUSE RULES. Many things come full circle, but thankfully, since we have a few books left in this amazing series, more questions and problems are posed at the end. It wouldn't be a CV book without those.

So, have you started the Chicagoland Vampires series yet? If not, you have time before HOUSE RULES is released on February 5. Read up, because HOUSE RULES is icing on this very yummy cake.

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