Series: Chicagoland Vampires #1
Published by NAL Penguin on April 7th 2009
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Amazon | Goodreads
Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it was Merit’s. She was doing fine until a rogue vampire attacked her. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker and this one decided the best way to save her life was to make her the walking undead.
Turns out her savior was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now she’s traded sweating over her thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan “Lord of the Manor” Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed, four-hundred- year-old vampire, he has centuries worth of charm, but unfortunately he expects her gratitude and servitude. But an inconvenient sunlight allergy and Ethan’s attitude are the least of her concerns. Someone’s still out to get her. Her initiation into Chicago’s nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war and there will be blood.
Merit was a pretty contented graduate student whose life changed after one bite. She was attacked by a vampire one evening on her college campus. The vampire was interrupted before he could finish her off, chased away by none other than Ethan Sullivan, the Master vampire of Cadogan House. His only way to save her was to turn her and that decision changed her life forever.
This was an interesting story and good start to what promises to be an intriguing series. Merit’s relationships expand and change significantly as a result of her now being a vampire. The first significant change is that she can no longer continue her graduate studies (turns out the colleges have a rule) so Merit has to come to terms with what will be her new identity. Her roommate Mallory, already obsessed with matters of the occult, is her salvation as she helps Merit adapt to her new circumstances. She also figures more prominently into the story when it’s discovered she has some special gifts of her own and it leads to an unplanned romance.
Merit is deeply resentful of Ethan and she cannot fall in step with the requirement that new initiates pretty much grovel at his feet and swear undying allegiance. Her attitude gets her into all sorts of dilemmas and doesn’t endear her much with her new found brethren. The relationship between these two is complex as both seem to have an unnatural attraction to each other, one that they both seem to want to deny but can’t ignore the reality of their feelings. Ethan has some archaic views (he’s almost 400 years old so I guess it’s to be expected) and isn’t used to being challenged. Jury is still out on him as he’s not showing up so good as a hero but Merit shows promise if she watches her tongue.
There were quite a few extraordinary events that occurred, including Merit’s initiation ceremony and her designated role at Cadogan House. The circumstances surrounding her attack pointed to a much larger plot and set up some conflicts going forward.
I liked a lot about this story, even with its mystique and unanswered issues. I’m looking forward to the next book as there were many other interesting characters that will make this series compelling.
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