One-Girl Revolution

Fangirl Fridays – Merit, Sentinel of Cadogan House

Collage by Olga Daniels
We’ve gushed about Ethan, so it seems only fair that we spend some time discussing the awesomeness that is Merit of House Cadogan. We’ve loved that girl from the very beginning of her Chicagoland Vampires adventures, even before we loved Cadogan’s master. Merit is our window into the CLV world, and while we sometimes have to look past the biases in her narration, we love the people she loves, and we love her for the way she loves them. Because of Merit, we adore Chicago, we want to hang out with her and Mallory and Lindsey. We want to read with her in Cadogan’s library, and we want to go sleuthing with her, striving to make Chicago a better place.

We can’t get enough of the Sentinel. Click through to discover a few of the many reasons that Merit is one of our favorite heroines, worthy of our fangirling tendencies.
**Spoiler Warning: We can’t talk about how amazing Merit is without touching on the events that have shaped her. If you haven’t read through House Rules, click through at your own risk!

When we first met Merit, she was a brand new vampire, pissed off at the circumstances of her change, clinging to her humanity like a lifeline. She was not a kick-ass chick, and we did not yet know about her incredible loyalty or the extent of her greatness. But we did know early on that Merit had a wonderful sense of humor. Her snarkiness and sarcasm sounded an awful lot like our own, and when she joked with Mallory, we knew right away that we wanted to hang out with them. 

Just a wee bit creepy ;)
I’ve mentioned before how Merit is one of my fave heroines ever (here). The main thing about her we absolutely adore is something that we have not come across very often: she could be our bff. In a heart beat. I can imagine walking into a library or book store and meeting her (perhaps we picked up the same book?), and we just start talking...and never stop. Or at the best pizza joint in town (which doesn’t mean it’s the fanciest btw), ordering the same toppings that not everyone else would go for. Or in the candy aisle, collecting stuff for our “emergency drawer”. So many awesome (and stalkerish) ways we could meet.

Merit is our spirit animal! For so many reasons. She even has a TBR list like most of the Wenches (and our Saucy Readers!) do. And she understands the pure joy of reading a good book in our pajamas!
“It was my TBR—my To Be Read stack. The usual subjects were there. Chick lit. Action. A Pulitzer Prize winner. A romance novel about a pirate and a damsel in a low-cut blouse. (What? Even vampire enjoys a little bodice ripping now and again.)” 

~ Hard Bitten
“Sometimes hanging out in pajamas with a good book sounded like a phenomenal idea.”

We totally agree with Merit on this!
Have we ever mentioned how much we LOVE Merit’s passion for everything? We love it. We adore it when people are passionate about things they love (something to adore about Head Wench Barb, and all of the other Wenches too!). Ethan notices Merit’s passions, too, when in Hard Bitten he tells her, “You like the things you like. You take great joy in those things, and you should never be ashamed of that. The pleasure that you take in simple things—food, clothing, architecture—is a very attractive quality.”

Her passion for food is something we can relate to, although not blessed with Merit’s amazing metabolism (We would hate her if we didn’t love her). I get hungry VERY often when reading this series, and it is ALL because of Merit! We WANT to go around Chicago eating everything she recommends! Ethan is a LUCKY man! Even though, sometimes, food might be a little higher on her priority list!
“Food that good deserved undisturbed digestion” 
~ Hard Bitten
“Let’s just remember, Sullivan, that I want you for your smoked meats and your smoked meats only.”
~ Twice Bitten 

Some of our favorite moments have been when there is actual, serious, vampire/shifter stuff going on and Merit is like (in her head):

We get her!

It took us some time to figure out why Merit actively works to distance herself from her family, and when we did, we understood completely. She feels like a replacement for someone her parents lost, and as such, always strives to create her own place in the world, to establish herself as her own person, not just her father’s daughter. That is such a human feeling that we can’t help but empathize. 
“If only we could have picked our family...” 

~ Hard Bitten

Despite growing up with the Merit household, she isn’t pretentious like them. She places importance on VERY different things. If anything, her priorities are in the right place (no matter what her father might think) because of the way her family members are and how she feels about it.

While People Merit wanted a small, simple life, it’s clear from the beginning that Vampire Merit was never destined for small, and Merit, Sentinel of Cadogan House, could never do simple. From First Hunger when Amber wouldn’t let Merit drink from Ethan because “she’s strong enough as it is”, to Merit resisting Ethan’s call and Celina’s “probing”, it was clear from very early on that she is not your average newbie vamp.

She is the best of both worlds if you ask us, a scholar AND a woman of action. How many of those do you know? We haven’t come across very many in this genre that we love this much.

Merit’s passion for reading, knowledge, and books is also something we here at the SWBC can relate to. And the fact that Ethan’s library is something that helped his odds with her, we get it! While she would have been completely happy living her life as a scholar/professional bookworm before she got turned, I have to agree with Ethan. It would have been a waste of her.

She is so much more than that! It took her a while to realize it. Understandably so. And we have loved watching her get comfortable in the role she was reborn for! Kick-ass woman, Sentinel of the House, Sullivan’s better half, smart and savvy vamp, loyal, fierce, and tough as nails—is it any wonder we adore her?

Not all of us thought Ethan was good enough for Merit in the beginning, but we did love the way Merit handled herself with Sullivan early on. We shouted “You go girl!” when she threw back Ethan’s misguided proposition. We understood her caution and her apprehensions, even her prejudices. And which one of us can’t relate to her hope for something better initially, when it seemed like Ethan hated that he wanted her?
“It’s stupid, I know. I have this thing, this idea. This bullshit ‘Mr. Darcy’ idea, about the one that changes his mind. That comes back for me. And I’ll look up some night, and he’ll be there in front of me. And he’ll stare at me and say, ‘It was you. It was always you.’”

~ Friday Night Bites

It wasn’t stupid. And if she hadn’t been smart from the get go, maybe Methan wouldn’t have been what they are today. They are an epic couple. A force to be reckoned with. And while Ethan has centuries on our Sentinel, she is his equal and makes HIM a better man and vampire. We love them together.

Merit evolved from a seemingly regular girl into a warrior in front of our eyes. And boy, was it something to witness. From her first fight with Ethan, to her training with Catcher (and then Ethan himself), she has come a long way. We love how she stands strong in the face of danger, even while she might be scared inside (like any sane, smart person would feel), and does her House proud. She is a confident soldier, a worthy opponent, and her relationship with her katana is something we love to read about. Vampires have never been sexier.
“You give me thirty-two inches of folded steel and I'll take on anyone you want.”

That’s our Merit!

Ethan, Cadogan House, and everyone else she calls friend or family are lucky to have her. Her loyalty is inspiring. Her sincerity to them is touching. And her love for them is undiluted by any pettiness or selfishness. I’ve said it before, Merit is the best I can someday hope to be. I will never be as open, as forgiving, or as accepting as she is, but it is something I strive towards. All we know is, everyone better appreciate Merit like she deserves! The things she puts up with and does for people she is loyal to are just awe inspiring at times.

At the end of the day, Ethan says it best:
“You’re perfect—beautiful, intelligent, intractable in a kind of . . . attractive way. Headstrong, but a good strategist. An amazing fighter.”
“Always remember,” he whispered to me, “that you are an uncommon soldier, whatever they say. And you are quite a thing to behold.”

Basically, it’s Team Merit (we need shirts), or no one, for us. And while we covered nowhere near everything, I think you get the gist of why we love the Sentinel.

We can’t wait to see what the always amazing Chloe Neill has in store for our favorite heroine! We just want her happy, with Ethan, and her friends, kicking ass, being fabulous and eating all the food she can get her hands on! Because in the end, those are the important things, the things that really matter to her, and therefore, to us.

Do you love Merit, Saucy Readers? What are some of your favorite Merit moments? We have so many, we just couldn’t add them all here! Share them with us below!


  1. I am definitely Team Merit. I never could put in to words really why she is my favorite heroine but you summed it up perfectly. She could be your bff. That is so true.

    The "Mr. Darcy" quote has always been one of my favorites of the series. Great post.

  2. I've said it many times before and I'll say it some more...she's one of my favorite female characters of the genre.

    This post is awesome and I agree with what you wrote in it.

    I too love the Darcy quote and it sums up what any girl wants from a man she loves. ;)

  3. Your love for Merit is so touching, sincere, and infectious! Don't get me wrong, I love her too, because she is awesome. But you always make me see her through new and brighter eyes, so to speak.

    The uncommon soldier quote is one of my very favorites in any series.


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