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 o' 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.
This is a book I read a while back but recently re-read… Alright, I actually got a deal on the audiobook and couldn’t resist (yes, I cheat sometimes and listen to audiobooks). I recall being hesitant about the book the first time I encountered it because the cover seemed kind of cheesy but as I had gone to college in Chicago I couldn’t resist the trip down memory lane.
I am so glad I did because I was instantly drawn into the story and I love the heroine, Merit. She is a reluctant vampire who is struggling to deal with all of the huge changes in her life. She doesn’t always handle things with maturity but her struggle is something that is easily relatable. This book also introduces a cadre of characters who will continue to provide support Merit in her new life. Merit is a bit of a badass, which I am a total sucker for, but she isn’t invincible. She picks up strategy and combat skills a little faster than reasonable but the author makes it clear that she is very intelligent and her background as a dancer gives her an edge in coordination so it doesn’t require too big of a leap of faith. Yes, she goes from a nerdy, former dancer to a vampire badass but there is something gratifying about traversing the extremes.
The supernatural world is seamlessly blended with modern day Chicago, a la the urban fantasy route which is also something I enjoy. The supernatural world only gets crazier as the series progresses but we start off with the focus solely on vampires with somewhat of an introduction to witches. The vampires are the daylight fearing type and their abilities run the gamut between ‘nothing special’ and ‘the big mamma jamma’, depending upon the particular gifts they receive.
This book also introduces us to a very significant love interest, Ethan. You’ll notice that romance is particularly light in this first book which fits because Merit needs time to adjust to the big changes in her life before she can pursue a relationship. As I am writing this review with the advantage of having read the remainder of the series, I can provide some unusual insight. It will take a while for things to pan out with Ethan and there will be some frustrating parts along the way but Ethan is kind of a jackass and requires some serious reconditioning before he can have a loving relationship. It is worth the frustration, but if you are not a fan of conflict, this may not be the series for you as it definitely full of conflict: physical, political and emotional.