Feb 12, 2013

Posted by in Reviews | 7 Comments

Review: House Rules by Chloe Neill (Chicagoland Vampires #7)

houserules4 star

Urban Fantasy
February 5 2013
Trade Paperback
352 pages
NAL Publishing

Kick Ass Chick – Merit

From Goodreads –

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.


House Rules is the seventh book in Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series.  As some of you know, I have not been too impressed with the direction this series had been taking over the last few books.  I have also said that House Rules would be the book I use to decide whether or not to even continue with the series.  I am aware that many of you stopped reading a couple of books back and I must admit I was tempted to follow you.  But there is just something utterly compelling about these characters and I just couldn’t give up on them yet.  But yes, even I was ‘this close’ to giving up.  Notice the was.

*Just a heads up that this is NOT a series you can just pick up at book seven and there will be spoilers for past books in my review.  There is just no getting away from it.*

In this installment, Ethan and the rest of Cadogan House is getting ready to part ways with the governing body of vampires.  I don’t blame them one bit.  These are pompous arses who were just out to hurt the members of the House.  In fact, one of my major bones of contention was this group of arses.  I never fully understood why they were so vicious towards Merit and company.  Still don’t.  Of course, the split doesn’t go quite as planned (in a twist I didn’t see coming and that served as both something I found interesting and something that pissed me off – all at once)  But that’s not all that happens in this book.

Merit is due to become an official member of the Red Guard.  Will she?  Won’t she?  What will Ethan do when / if he finds out?  There are also some missing vampires that eventually turn up dead.  That was an interesting storyline but small compared to the others stories in this installment.  I felt it was more to show teamwork and the benefits of trust and also to open the door (even more) for upcoming plotlines in future installments.

Basically, in my opinion, it served to remind us that McKetrick is still around and annoying.  He doesn’t play a huge role in this one but you can tell his role will get bigger soon.  Not sure how I feel about that honestly.  As I’ve said before, I am growing tired of the “mayor hates vampires and wants to rid the city of them” and the “dude hates vampires and wants to rid the city of them” plots.  It’s book seven and they are still there.  Yes, I understand that if vampires were real and out people would be uneasy, and these are things that would be reality to them.  But as a reader, it’s tired.  At least it’s not the focus of the books lately and that the author throws in interesting and well written mystery-sort plotlines to mix things up.  And even though I did enjoy this book a lot more than the last few installments, that always tugs in my mind and drives me a bit bonkers.

As I mentioned above, the characters are truly the highlight of this series for me.  Merit is so well written; she is simply remarkable.  I always enjoy reading her and it was no exception in this installment.  She continues to get stronger and more confident and I love her role.

Ethan is amazing in this one.  Not once did I want to smack him.  And Jeff…oh now I love Jeff!  In each book, I love him more.  I was happy to see quite a bit of him in this one.  Catcher and Mallory are there too and I was glad that Mallory didn’t anger me.  She is doing well and thank goodness for that.  And I still adore Jonah.

Ethan and Merit are finally having something that has been a long time coming.  In past installments, their teenaged attitude towards relationships and love has driven me bonkers!  But in this installment they are actually in the midst of a mature relationship.  Yes, you read right folks.  I said a mature relationship.  They have their ups and downs but they deal with them as grownups do.  I was so gosh darned proud of them…and relieved too.  Their on-again-off-again-because-someone-is-acting-like-a-fifteen-year-old was another one of my bones of contention and at least that one seems to have been solved.  I didn’t love that a past love interest was thrown in there, I didn’t feel it was necessary and I didn’t feel it added to the plot, but what can you do?  But I did like the other stuff that tests their relationship and how those were handled.

While reading this book, even though it’s trudging along nicely and nothing is really ticking me off, I still have that feeling of letdown in the back of my mind.  I know that’s not fair – I’m still here reading these books so there has to be something about them that I like to keep me coming back even after many have stopped – but it’s how it is.  And unfortunately, that means the authors has to work that much harder to impress me.  Will she ever fully succeed?  I’m not sure.  I really was disappointed by the direction of this series for a while.  But I’m still here and for now I’ll keep going because really, you can’t beat these characters.  And even when frustrating and tired, the stories are entertaining.

Overall, I quite enjoyed House Rules and I am, for the first time in a while, looking forward to the next book in the series.

4 stars

Giggle worthy quote

“’Malik, thank you for handling it.’

‘Of course, Liege.’

Ethan winced at the title.  ‘Please stop calling me that.  You’re still officially the Master.’

‘Oh, I know,’ Malik said.  ‘But much like Merit, I find it amusing to irritate you.’

As Malik walked down the hallway and around the corner, Ethan turned his pointed gaze on me.

I shrugged innocently.  ‘I can’t help it if I’m a trendsetter.’”

Books in the Chicagoland Vampires series –
Some Girls Bite
Friday Night Bites
Twice Bitten
Hard Bitten
Drink Deep
Biting Cold
House Rules
Biting Bad (August 2013)
Wild Things (February 2014)


  1. Couple of books ago I gave up on this series, and even though I’ve heard good things about this one I think I’ll stick with my decision. 🙁

  2. I think you covered my every feeling about this series. Even though House Rules was a much better installement than of late I still find myself on the fence.

    While reading it I just kept thinking about plot points like: If Lacey loves him so much then why would she move across country to her own house in the first place? What do the RG actually do? It’s always Cadogan going out on a limb to solve problem and several times in the book the RG should have been at the house helping. Why was Noah so in need of help when he has the RG? Stuff like that.

    But, yeah, Ethan was amazing in this book. Honestly, it’s the Merit and Ethan dynamic that keeps me coming back for more. Without that…

  3. I was in the minority of folks that didn’t stop reading after the big bad in the 4th (?) book. I was still enchanted. Somehow I was a little let down with this book. I can’t put into words why, and I will still keep reading, but I found others to be more action packed and sexy and scintillating. Thankfully, we have Biting Bad coming out later this year.

  4. But but but I hate Ethan and merit

  5. I’m in the same boat as Bookaholiccat..LOL, but after a few good reviews I decided to give it a second chance, and now my decision looks even better.
    Thanks Julie 🙂

  6. Ann-Catrin Sköld says:

    I´m stuck at Drink Deep!
    Couldn´t finish that book because I didn´t like where the plot were going.
    I really like the story before DD so I’ll try to give Chloe Neill another chance. I´ve bought the books but haven’t been able to read them.

    But not today…

  7. Bookaholic Cat – 🙁 but understandable

    Bea – Yes! Why did Noah need his help? And why Ethan? Why not another House Master. It’s not like Ethan had nothing else on his plate! I totally get what you are talking about lol.

    Liz – There was definitely less action in this one.

    blodeuedd – Then maybe you should not read this one lol

    Lupdilup – You’ll have to let me know how you feel about it after this book 😉

    Ann-Catrin – It’s hard to find motivation to read a book (and consecutive books) when you don’t like where they are going. And I didn’t like where they were going. I think I kept reading in part because I knew what Chloe was capable of and I kept thinking that one day she’ll go back to that awesome stuff she once wrote about lol.

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