Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Also by this author: Some Girls Bite (Chicagoland Vampires, #1), Friday Night Bites (Chicagoland Vampires, #2), Twice Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires, #3)
Series: The Chicagoland Vampires #7
Publisher: Berkley Books
Source: My shelves
In a city full of vampires, trouble never sleeps.
At the tender age of twenty-seven, 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.
< This review does contain spoilers >
Hello! Welcome to book seven of the Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill :) If you’re new to the series, I recommend you start with my review of book one here, because this will contain spoilers up through this book.
As a general recap, the Chicagoland vampires series follows Merit, a newly turned vampire, who stands Sentinel (as a kind of warrior/brand rep/on-site PI) for Cadogan House, one of the three Chicago Vampire Houses. All vampire Houses are ruled by the Greenwich Presidium (GP), based in the UK… at least they were.
In House Rules, Cadogan House finally severs ties from the GP, after months of brow-beating and pointless abuse. Let us all release that sigh of relief! It was no easy task, with the GP determined to make it as politically nasty as they could, all while Merit was juggling a serial vampire murder investigation. The GP are such assholes, I hope we’re done with them.
What I liked:
✨ Freakin’ Jeff Christopher!! He’s a were-tiger!! Why did Merit not freak out more about this?? 🙌🏼 I’m literally so over the moon at this news. Thank goodness.
✨ Jonah just continues to absolutely rock! He is the only one that didn’t fall prey to the douche-y ex-boyfriend type (yes, they didn’t date, but there were definitely feelings brewing!) and he took Ethan’s return and intrusiveness like a champ. I hope he doesn’t disappear because I really like him 🥰
✨ They are officially a vampire fraternity!! Finally, one of the Suspicious Rogue vampires pointed out what I’ve been saying forever! Cadogan, especially now that they’ve seceded from the GP and have become an Independent House of Rogues… is essentially a vampire fraternity. I’m so in love with this analogy, because this is how I’ve felt the whole damn time!
“Ethan Sullivan,” I marveled. “You have a library fantasy.”
He smiled slightly. “I have a doctoral-student-turned-vampire fantasy.”
✨ Cadogen House finally gets the recognition they deserve 😁👌🏻 They’ve really been doing the most since Merit was made Sentinel and the existence of vampires became public knowledge. They’ve been working with other supernaturals, building alliances, working with other Houses, solving crimes that have nothing to do with them, and saving the city multiple times over. And finally, they are recognized!! The Rogues call them “The House that Listens” and I just had to take a moment to congratulate Merit and Ethan for their efforts, finally starting to pay off! And when Ethan put Scott (Gray House Master) in his place about Cadogan doing all the dirty work, I wanted to give him a standing ovation! PREACH, SON.
✨ This was a palate cleanser, which I can appreciate! The last few books have been action-packed, with Ethan dying, coming back to life, Mallory’s betrayal, saving the city, defecting from the GP… it was nice to have a book that wasn’t as physically and emotionally draining. However… that does make me fearful of the next few books
Points of Discussion:
✨ LOL at the “sleuthing” 😂 This is something that has made me chuckle this whole damn series – it irritates me, but I love it!! Now we have to remember that Merit was an English Graduate student before she was turned into a vampire and made into the House Sentinel. She has no PI/detective/sleuthing background, and has had to pick things up. But there are just certain things a homegirl should have picked up watching CSI, Law & Order, Criminal Minds, or whatever the heck. Her being like, “Oh, there’s an ATM across that street. That likely has camera footage!” and Ethan (looking impressed) being like “Excellent thinking, Sentinel.” LOL it just makes me giggle. It’s such amateur sleuthing, which makes me laugh because it’s more realistic but also ??? does home-girl not watch TV?
✨ Merit and Ethan Drama overall. Look… I love a good slow-burn romance. And I understand that it may take awhile, especially in PNR, which often feature enemies/hate-to-love romances, and there is often backtracking (because there is often real danger involved), but sometimes I don’t think authors understand the difference between slow-burn and wishy-washy. Ethan’s back from the dead, which brings it’s own set of problems and yes, things are different now that he’s back, but his reaction to the RG thing was just so over-the-top.
Mallory turned to Berna. “I’m taking a fifteen, and we’re moving this discussion upstairs.”
“You can have here! I will not listen.”
“You will listen,” Mallory said, “and you’ll tell your book club exactly what you heard.”
“But it is like Twilight in real life!” Berna protested. “Sparkles!”
✨ Merit didn’t stand up for herself?? This… was puzzling to me. Merit is a stubborn, independent vampire who is not afraid of speaking her mind. To anybody: the Mayor, the freakin’ head of the GP, someone actively trying to kill her. But she didn’t stand up for herself about the RG. She said “I joined. And I’m staying.” But never did she explain why. She knew he would take it the wrong way. But she didn’t defend her decision. And then she walked around with her tail between her legs while the House had an imminent demise, sulking. And so did Ethan. It just felt so juvenile, and I thought they were past this.
✨ LACEY GODDAMN SHERIDAN. Y’all know I’m not a big fan of the “bitchy-ex” trope. Is it realistic? Likely! Exes are bitchy! But making the ex the villain is just so overdone. Morgan became a kind of bitchy ex-boyfriend, then Lacey became a bitchy ex-girlfriend, and they all became villains to the couple in some respect, even if they weren’t *actual villains.* Just… guh! Why is she back? I’m glad she’s gone and put in her place.
I’m torn on House Rules in a lot of ways. As with all the others, I really did enjoy the book. It had the trademark Merit humor, great action sequences, and political intrigue (although it wasn’t all that complicated in this one). It’s familiar in a way unique to the Chicagoland Vampires series but still manages to be fresh. But the unnecessary angst between Ethan and Merit just seems so unnecessary, irritating, and frankly, boring. All it did was piss me off – on both sides! Merit’s known this day was coming, had prepared, and did little to defend herself, or her decision. Ethan, too, reacted terribly, throwing Lacey in the mix (but no cheating, because not a total ass), which was just cruel.
There’s so much left for this series, and it shows no signs of slowing down – and it shouldn’t, with six books remaining in the series. But I’m scared Ethan and Merit will grow stagnant because I did lose some of the sexy zest they had, although that may be due to my general irritation towards their plot points.
Series Reading Order
< Check out all my reviews from this series here! >
Other pnr books you may enjoy…
< Check out more vampire romances here! >
Have you read a Chloe Neill book? Are you a vampire or a shifter lover? Let me know in the comments down below, I’d love to hear from you!