House Rules by Chloe Neill
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
The Chicagoland Vampire series has kept me coming back through seven books now. I have enjoyed each and every one of them, except for the major WTF moment in Book #4, Hard Bitten. That one nearly gave me apoplexy! But I forged ahead with the next one in the series, trying to convince myself that Chloe Neill could fix the damage she had wrought, and happily, she did. I’ve seen both rave reviews and pretty bad ones about House Rules, so I guess it’s all in your perspective. For me, this is a series that doesn’t get old. I love the complicated politics, and the relationships of all the various characters, though our heroine, Merit, is far more forgiving of her best friend than I would be. But–and this is how shallow and immature I am, folks–most of all, I love the Master of Cadogan House, the golden-haired, impeccably dressed vampire, Ethan Sullivan. Truly, he is one of the hottest vampity guys I’ve ever read about, and I would probably read a book that had nothing in it but Ethan, standing around and looking glorious for chapter after chapter. So, make of that what you will, and keep it in mind when reading this review. It’s just possible it might have some influence on my thoughts about the series as a whole. Slightly. A bit. Okay, totally.
Note: Very slight hints about what is to come below. Not actual spoilers, but if you don’t even want to guess about what’s going to happen, you probably should quit reading now.
What I loved most about House Rules, besides the afore-mentioned Ethan Sullivan, is that the vampires of Cadogan House have decided to break away from the Greenwich Presidium, which is like a governing body that sets the rules and practices for all the affiliated houses. If you don’t belong to an affiliated house, you are considered a rogue vampire, and held in very low regard by the Presidium, and often by vampires who do have such affiliations. The GP is largely a bunch of bad actors, with the head vampire a real jerk, determined to cause all the trouble he can for Ethan and his beloved house. I have been hoping Cadogan vampires would make the break for some time, so I was happy with that entire story line. Of course, nothing goes as planned, as is always the case in these books, but that’s what makes the series interesting. And Ethan, of course. Did I mention him already?
What I didn’t like: Merit did something in a previous book that I hated from the moment she did it. It seemed like a total betrayal to me from the get-go, no matter how often she told herself it was really the right thing to do. When she failed to tell Ethan what she had done, I could see the trouble coming a mile away, and since they had only just gotten back together, I was not happy to think she might be blowing everything on this one ill-advised decision. The explosion I expected between them did happen, but I’m happy to say that despite my nailbiting worries, they eventually acted like grown ups and found their way through it. I do believe Chloe Neill won’t make another move like she did in Book 4–at least I fervently hope not–so I was happy with the final resolution of this particular issue. Couple all that tension with a hotter than normal love scene, and the book just worked for me on pretty much all levels.
If you have been following this series and enjoying it, you won’t want to miss House Rules. And I’m happy to say that the next book comes out in August, so we will see exactly what the repercussions of Cadogan House becoming a rogue house will be. Yay for not having to wait a full year to find out! If you haven’t tried this series, and like a better than average vampire book now and then, I can recommend this as one that might fit the bill. Shifters, witches, and more spice up the cast, but make no mistake. Vampires rule. Especially–dare I say it one more time–Ethan Sullivan and his Sentinel, Merit. But mostly Ethan.
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