Narrator: Sophie Eastlake
Series: Chicagoland Vampires #7
Published by Tantor Audio on March 25, 2013
Genres: Romance, Urban Fantasy
Length: 10 hours 17 minutes
At the tender age of 25, 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 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.
My Initial Reaction…
This is the Chicagoland Vampires I fell in love with! I’m so glad I stuck with it, despite the last couple books being a bit sub-par. The mystery was so much better, I loved the relationship dynamics across the board, and the action was fantastic as usual!
Sophie Eastlake is such a relief after so many books with Cynthia Holloway. I was one of the few out there who could tolerate Holloway, but after so many books I was ready for some quality reading and Eastlake delivers. I particularly love her accent for Berna – it’s just fantastic. If you weren’t listening to the series before, House Rules is a good time to start.
Merit was extremely frustrating for me in the first 80% of House Rules – she finally has some semblance of a stable relationship with Ethan, which is great to see and exactly what she wanted, but it’s like the result is that she’s turned off her think switch! She made so many rookie moves in my opinion; I just wanted to reach in and shake her. She does redeem herself in the last 20% though, not only turning back on her think switch but pulling out some really kick ass moves that I couldn’t help but cheer out loud for while listening.
Ethan starts off the book so sweet, it was cute but I also seriously didn’t trust it. Ethan is many things, but sweet just doesn’t seem to fit him and I was ready for the shoe to drop. Well it does (in many ways because of the above comments about Merit), and I also wanted to reach into the book and slap him (notice, I wanted to shake Merit, but I wanted to slap Ethan. Yes – he was more frustrating)! I do think I like the person he’s growing into though – he may be hundreds of years old, but he’s still growing and changing in marvelous ways. He has some really quotable moments in House Rules – his speechifying is only getting better 🙂
The supporting cast continues to really make these books for me. I’m a huge fan of Mallory and she’s coming back with this book – it’s still a work in process, but I loved seeing more of her and that she’s still trying to overcome her recent, um, setbacks. There’s a truly fabulous moment in House Rules with Jeff – we finally get to see him in action and – well I don’t want to spoil it, so I’ll just say it’s 100% worth the wait!
There’s two main threads to the plot in House Rules:
(1) Cadogan House is finally leaving the GP and the GP is not making it easy on them. Nope, they are the child kicking and screaming for not getting it’s way. Ethan is on the offensive from the start, but they still manage to get one over on him and their house is in real danger. Everyone’s working around the clock, including Merit’s not-so-favorite master vampire, Lacey, Ethan’s ex. Lacey adds to the drama in some really fabulous, piss-you-off ways; let’s just say she’s there to help protect the house and her claims on Merit’s boyfriend! Between Lacey and the really despicable moves the GP makes, this book will make your pretty angry (in the best way).
(2) Someone’s killing vampires and the only apparent motive is fun. It started with the disappearance of two rogues, who were universally liked and last seen registering as vampires – so not causing waves of any kind with the human population. Merit gets on the case right from the start and as the danger escalates, it becomes clear that rogues are not the only targets – any vampire could be in danger.
I have only two complaints about House Rules, the first is really really minor, the second is just personal preference. First, I’m just sick and tired of hearing that “so and so was truly a Master Vampire” or “so and so was a Master among men.” It seems to be the fall back way of describing anything really great that Ethan (or Malik lately) does and I’ve gotten so used to it that I feel it coming and can almost say it with the narrator. Let’s find a new way to describe them, huh? Secondly, I’m in love with Jonah. Yes, I know – Ethan is the one that I’m supposed to be cheering on, but he burnt too many bridges for me to be rooting for him 100%. I like Ethan. I love Jonah. I want more of Jonah and I want him with Merit. I seem to be alone on this, but a girl can dream!
Both plots are full of twists and turns and very unpredictable. Some of the earlier books had been pretty predictable, but I didn’t call anything in House Rules. In fact, I found myself 100% wrong on several counts! A lot of fun and great action scenes, not to mention a really great scene on Ethan’s desk ;), make this a must read!
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