March 2010, Gollancz
368 pages, Paperback
Review copy from UK Book Tours
Fantasy (possibly urban),
Some use of strong language, some moderate violence, magic, adult relationships, friendships, rivalry, becoming someone different
Summary from Orion Books
Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn't exactly glamorous, but it was mine. I was doing fine until Chicago's vampires announced their existence to the world - and then a rogue vampire attacked me. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker . . . one who decided the best way to save my life was to take it.
Turns out my saviour was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now I've traded sweating over my 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 also seems to expect my eternal gratitude - and servitude. Right . . .
But my burgeoning powers (all of a sudden, I'm surprisingly handy with some serious weaponry), an inconvenient sunlight allergy, and Ethan's attitude are the least of my concerns. Someone's out to get me. Is it the rogue vampire who bit me? A vamp from a rival House? An angry mob bearing torches?
My initiation into Chicago's nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war - and there's going to be blood . . .
They killed me. They healed me. They changed me.
I love Merit. I don't necessarily approve of all that she does (sometimes she's a bit rash), but her voice is funny. We share the same kind of humour. She appears fearless at times, which can get her into trouble in the vampire world. I like it that she makes mistakes, and just wades in without assessing the situation. I like it how her family are quite involved with her new life - she isn't instantly separated from them just because she has been made a vampire. I love all the hierarchy of the houses in this novel, and the role that Merit comes to play in it. All the characters she meets have strong personalities. Her own friend, Mallory plays a huge role in the story. There are a few twists with Mallory, but the most important thing is that Mallory is always there for Merit. She doesn't let Merit down. She makes sure Merit drinks blood, even if she doesn't want to. She adapts the house they share for Merit's new needs. She even gives Merit fashion advice. There were a lot of moments where the actions of people around Merit touched my heart and made me reach for a tissue. She rubs some vampires (and other people) up the wrong way. This book is full of everything I love in a book - action, humour, suspense and friendship. I wholeheartedly recommend it for a read.
Not just another vampire story, one so full of twists and humour that you're either laughing or looking perplexed.
If you liked this, try Alyxandra Harvey's series which starts with My Love Lies Bleeding (UK title)