Daylighters by Rachel Caine

Just finished reading Daylighters by Rachel Caine which is No.15 in the Morganville Vampire books and is also the concluding book of the series.

Daylighters picks up pretty much where No.14, Fall of Night, left off (which ended on something of a cliffhanger to say the least!).  So, Claire, Eve and Shane are stunned when  the vampires that they returned to town with are all ruthlessly shot down and carried away – Myrnin, Michael, Oliver and Jesse (a fairly new edition to the cast of characters).  Clearly things in Morganville have taken a turn – not sure in which direction yet exactly – but they have taken a turn.  The residents seem happier, the place is cleaner and more upbeat, people can go out for a stroll in the evening without fear of becoming a midnight snack and, well, put bluntly, there isn’t a vampire in sight!  It appears that the Daylighters are now in town, they’re running the show and are promising a vampire free town for the residents and a would-be miracle cure for the vampires (well, sort of).  It all sounds a bit too good to be true – which usually means it is of course.  For now, however, the vampires are being kept locked away and the people of Morganville are free for once.  Keeping a bunch of vampires locked away can’t last forever though and neither can the relative calm that seems to have descended.  The Leader of the Daylighters is something of a fanatic who it appears will go to any lengths to indoctrinate people – including using a few vampires as guinea pigs and a few people as necessary sacrifices.

Obviously it’s difficult to say too much about the plot for fear of potential spoilers and as this is the last book in the series I really don’t want to give things away so this review will be, of necessity, short and sweet.

I’ve been intrigued as to how RC would wrap up this series and manage to give everyone a happy ending – however, I think she’s managed to do just that, particularly one storyline which she wraps up very tidily.  On the whole, does this end on an ‘all guns blazing’ grand finale?  Not exactly.  I would say that whilst this is the final in the series it definitely leaves the door ajar for a possible return in the future.  So, not a clear cut break but I think a very acceptable way of concluding the series which I imagine most readers will be happy with.

In terms of criticisms – I did have a number of points in the book where I struggled to see why Claire, Eve and Shane would put themselves on the line repeatedly to try and help a bunch of captive vampires who have in the past not only made their life miserable, imprisoned them and threatened them with death sentences but have also used them as fresh food.  I guess I reached the conclusion that the gang were more about sticking up for the underdogs which in this story was definitely the vampires.  It made an interesting comparison to see the vampires a little bit humbled and in need of help – although they didn’t stay that way for too long.

On the whole this has undoubtedly been an entertaining series.  If I had the chance to pick this up now in the knowledge that there were 15 books, would I do so?  Probably not – as it’s such an undertaking – but I’m not sorry to have read these and Ms Caine did give us Myrnin – a character which I do like very much.  These books have been good fun and Rachel Caine has consistently come up with new and inventive ways of keeping the storyline fresh.  If you want a quick and easy series of books about a bunch of teenagers fighting against, with and sometimes for vampires then give this series a whirl.

This counts to my 100 books in a year challenge and also starts to reduce my unfinished series list (see here).

Fall of Night by Rachel Caine (No.14 of the Morganville Vampires)

Fall of Night is the 14th instalment in the Morganville Vampires series – I think No.15 is the final book but I’ve been known to be wrong so don’t quote me.  Fall of Night continues with the battle to stay alive as Claire finally leaves Morganville when she’s accepted into MIT.  Of course this is a dream come true but is bitter sweet as she’ll be leaving behind her friends, her boyfriend and Myrnin.  Before I go any further with this review I will warn you that there could be spoilers for earlier books in the series contained below so if you haven’t already read up to this point – BEWARE!  (You were warned).  Also, I think these books should be read as a series – I dare say you could pick up one of these and quickly grasp the story and run with it – but I think it would be better to have a bit of background to the characters not to mention the trials and tribulations they’ve been through already – it gives a bit more meaning to the betrayals and guilt in this particular instalment.

Anyway.  Off Claire sets with her spotted hanky.  Once again she’s staying off campus and is sharing with an old school friend (who’s name I seem to have forgotten at breakneck speed! Think it was Liz???).  However, when she arrives things pretty quickly go off kilter.  At first you could be forgiven for thinking that finally Claire looks set to live her dream.  She’s more confident in this instalment, easily making friends.  She’s introduced to Professor Anderson who she will be working with in a very impressive lab.  She has a place to stay and whilst she’s going to miss everyone (almost everyone) back at Morganville it feels as though she’s going to make friends here very easily.  Of course, as you’ll know if you’ve read previous MV stories nothing is ever that simple.  A would-be stalker seems to be taking up permanent residence outside of her new apartment – and he’s intensely creepy.  On top of that Shane doesn’t seem to quite grasp the concept of this whole break thing/giving Claire some space and has basically followed her to town where he’s found himself a job and residence and is casually keeping an eye on her – no, he’s not the creepy stalker.  And, lastly, Claire’s invention, that she’s brought to MIT to continue working on with the Prof seems to be getting a lot of unwanted attention.  Men in dark suits also seem to be tailing Claire, checking out her apartment (without an invitation), watching her movements (this is like a book of stalkers!)

Basically, the invention that Claire was working on to try and temper vampire emotions has come to the attention of a secret organisation.  They want to get their hands on VLAD (Claire’s invention) and they’re not overly fussy about taking prisoners.  As history will teach us, great inventions can usually be turned around to suit a different purpose for that which they were originally intended and Claire’s invention is no exception.

That’s about all I’m going to say here in terms of plot so you’ll just have to go and read the book if you want to know more.

The story takes on a fairly sinister feel quite quickly with abductions and the like and the tension is ramped up for the grand finale.

As in the latter books the POV in this novel extends to take on board Shane’s voice and I really quite welcome this addition as it expands the story for readers.

In terms of criticisms – well, if you’re hoping for all the usual characters to be playing their regular roles then you may be disappointed.  Eve and Shane only become involved in the story in the last third of the book – as does Myrnin and Oliver – although this isn’t really a surprise.  It would be a bit odd if we had a full Morganville cast involved now that Claire has moved away!  I can’t say I ever really ‘got along’ with the new cast and a few of the characters felt thrown in there for very little purpose.

On the whole I thought this was another enjoyable instalment by RC.  She never fails to come up with a new theme which always amazes me and in spite of the fact that this is No.14 she keeps things fairly fresh – I think what helps with this is that the time period covered in each book is relatively short (I don’t think this instalment can have covered much more than a fortnight period in total from start to end – although, again, I could be wrong so don’t beat me over the head with a verbal stick please.

If you’re looking for somethings suave and sophisticated then this might not fit the bill but if you’d enjoy a series where plenty goes on, there’s a bit of fun and snark in spite of the constant life threatening situations and a cast of characters that you can’t fail to like at least some of (my favourite being Myrnin) then give this a go.  In terms of some of the similar series that are around I think this one compares very well.  Plus – Myrnin and his vampire bunny slippers!  I’m intrigued to know how Ms Caine is going to wrap this up.  Will it be possible to have a happy ending?  It’s a tricky one and given the cliff hanger ending it’s going to feel like a long 6 months before I get to read the conclusion .

Patience is a virtue…

Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine

Just finished reading Bitter Blood, the 13th instalment of the Morganville Vampire series written by Rachel Cain.  The series is based in the fictional town of Morganville where vampires and humans live together, usually in a less than amicable fashion.

The last book saw the elimination of the one remaining threat to the vampires – the Draug.  And even though the humans had to help massively in order to succeed it seems that the vampires gratitude has been short lived as it finally dawns on them that they really are now at the top of the food chain.  They no longer have anything to fear and their vicious and predatory nature is being given much more of a free rein.

It seems like the inhabitants of the Glass House are once again in the middle of the tensions.  The vampires are angry with Michael for marrying Eve and the humans in town are angry with Eve for marrying a vampire.  It seems like an open season has been declared on the four with Captain Obvious riling up the town to acts of violence whilst simultaneously Amelie has withdrawn her protection.

I liked this instalment – it seemed to return in feel to the earlier books in the series.  Although the author is still using the multiple POV style of writing adopted in the latter books.  I like this approach and think it gives a more rounded view of events than always just using Claire as the main vehicle for telling the story.  But, whilst I enjoyed this I did think it had a fairly slow start and took a good while to really pick up in terms of action.  I don’t really mind that particularly however this book did feel as though it dragged a little and it felt like it took longer to read.  Not really sure why as I did think the storyline was well thought out.  It always amazes me how Rachel Caine manages to come up with a new self contained plot for each successive book.  She never fails to come up with something unique and she manages to sustain a certain level of tension.  Sometimes I think that maybe she’s going to give Eve, Michael, Shane and Claire a bit of a break but she’s just relentless.

Miranda returns in this book – as a ghost in the Glass House, in a similar fashion to Michael at the start of the book.  She’s a strange and sad character really and her untimely demise and resurrection into the spirit world has removed her ability to foresee the future and she really misses the insight that provided her with.  The ghosts of Morganville seem to take a much more active stance in this edition and it will be interesting to see if that continues.

Myrnin, as usual, plays an invaluable role.  He’s my favourite character of the series and the one who I worry about. I hope RC doesn’t have anything bad in mind for him! (Pretty please!!)

In terms of criticisms I did have a couple.  It would be easy to get all preachy about the fact that Amelie is made into a bit of a puppet in this book and to get all naffed off about her losing some of her power to Oliver – but, Oliver was, after all, being controlled himself.   So, no, I didn’t really have a problem with that.  I think my main criticism came after Michael’s jaw dropping scene at the hospital (and that’s the only way I can write that without giving away spoilers) – and it wasn’t really a criticism about Michael because, again, you could see the reasoning behind it.  It was Shane, and Eve’s, reaction to events – which was to be annoyed with Claire.  It just really bugged me.  I mean, even Claire felt bad about what happened and yet she’d been powerless in the string of events.  I suppose there is a little bit of Claire that feels guilty, especially over her mixed feelings for Myrnin, but even so, I was a bit pissed off with Shane and Eve.  Also, Miranda even asked Claire if ‘it’ was true or not – well she should know, after all, she spends half the time floating invisibly around the house and indiscriminately eves dropping so she is definitely well placed to see if any of the friends are getting up to anything?  No??

Also, I wasn’t overly in love with the whole ghost tv crew side story and couldn’t really see the point of it other than to bring in a new person with psychic abilities.

Other than that I thought this was a good read and it ends on a very interesting proposition.  I won’t spoil it but it will be interesting to see where the next books goes and I’m thinking that we’ll have two alternative story lines to look forward to.  That being said Rachel Caine usually manages to surprise me so I dare say I’ll be wrong in my thinking of what direction she’s taking us in!




Black Dawn by Rachel Caine, Morganville Vampires Book No.12

Just finished reading Black Dawn by Rachel Caine, No. 12 of the Morganville Vampires.  This book takes up immediately where Last Breath left off.  The Draug are still in Morganville, Magnus and his thrall are still attacking vampires, and humans if necessary, at every opportunity and the vampires are scared and holed up at Founders Square.  If you haven’t read any of the previous novels I would suggest reading no further as spoilers will be contained below.

Okay, I enjoyed this installment, although not as much as last breath.  That being said I enjoyed the different perspectives which we got to see a lot more of.  This is a really fast paced novel, if you like action you’re going to be plenty pleased with this book.  We move from one escape/rescue/potential abduction to the next.  The draug are relentless.  The clouds gather ominously and then grey sludgy figures appear.  On top of that Amelie is infected – and let’s face it, if she dies, life in Morganville is going to become a whole lot less, mmm, livable – at least for the humans.

The difference in this novel is that Shane is in more danger.  RC has proved already that she isn’t afraid to lose a few characters and this particular instalment is no exception.

I did enjoy this novel, BUT, it’s taken on a new direction, which I suppose is to be expected given that we’re getting towards the end of the series.  Amelie has become more chilling and Myrnin isn’t quite the same character that we’ve become used to.  Now maybe this is all leading up to the grand finale – I’ve always wondered how things could possibly end well for all sides – so maybe we’re being led now down the path of more dislike for the vampires.  This has a feel now where things are going to become much more ‘us and them’ and a potential fight to the death with a situation where, if the vampires win, they are released upon the general unknowing population.  That’s just my weird speculation.

In terms of criticism – yes, I had one major one – in the previous novels it always felt like Claire, Shane and the crew were fighting to stay alive against their foes.  In this novel they weren’t against the vampires, the vampires and the humans had joined against the common enemy – the draug.  But it felt a little unrealistic.  Lots of vampires but the humans go out on these missions.  I understand that the humans can look after themselves and fight back when they have to – but, they’re going out on missions with vampires and helping with things that the vampires would be much better at.  Now, I understand that the vampires are scared of their ultimate enemy – but, I don’t understand why the humans are trying to help them (well, until the end I didn’t understand).  But, even with that understanding, I don’t get why the humans didn’t just say ‘to hell with this’ and get out of there.  They’re helping their own enemy and are constantly under threat from them and treated like real inferiors.

Anyway, a good instalment.  It didn’t have the jaw dropping moments of the last and for me, personally, Myrnin, lost a little something in translation in this book.  Like I said, maybe it’s the beginning of the end.  I don’t know.

However, if you’ve read this far, you can’t possibly stop now??  Can you??

I will certainly read the rest.  I have to know how this ends.

Black Dawn

Black Dawn

Last Breath by Rachel Caine No.11 in the Morganville Vampire Series

Just finished reading Last Breath by Rachel Caine.  I read that there will be 15 books in total in the Morganville Vampire series with this being the 11th installment (not 12 like I originally thought).  I did wonder whether RC would manage to come up with a new story or whether the series would start to tail off but I’m pleased to say that RC has put together another gripping installment.  This is quite an emotional ride and I found myself quite literally gobsmacked about half way through.  Yes, mouth dropped open, scratching my head, saying ‘what just happened?’  If you haven’t read the other books this review may contain spoilers.

Last Breath continues on from where Bite Club left off but in this story Morganville is going to come under attack from a new and terrible foe.  An enemy that preys on vampires!  This poses a much greater threat than Bishop ever did and could prove catastrophic not only to the vampires but the human inhabitants as well.  A new stranger is in town, his name is Magnus – he’s not human, in fact it’s difficult to say what he is but he’s stalking around town and vampires are starting to disappear.  Claire and her gang are about to have a few questions finally answered – like why vampires, who don’t like sunlight, decided to set up house in the middle of a bright and sunny desert.

What I particularly like about this episode is that RC continues with the style she adopted in the last book of allowing other participants in the story to take part in the narration.  I really like this style as it allows you to see other parts of the story that are restricted by having only one storyteller and it allows us to experience the thoughts and emotions of some of the others which we havent really had an insight into previously.  For example, Amelie provides some of the narration and it’s really good to hear her thoughts and understand some of her reasonings, I think it also helped to show that she’s not quite as cold as she always seems.

I think that the new threat written into this story is really well imagined with a good backdrop that slowly unfolds as the story develops – so we don’t get to learn everything right away, we’re kept in the dark about events just as Claire and her gang are.  Again we are in a race against time situation where the clock is ticking ever faster as we race to the action packed finale and the final show down.

And, of course, my favourite character Myrnin is ever present in his bunny slippers and we get to see a little more into his true feelings for Claire.

I do enjoy this series and have mixed feelings, partly I don’t want it to finish but partly I can’t wait to see how it will end.  Only four more books before we find out what will happen to the gang (and I’m including vamps in that – obviously we have Michael and Myrnin, but also Oliver has sort of grown on me as have a few of the others) how can you have an ending that satisfies everyone?  It won’t be easy.

I thought this was much more of an emotional instalment and it ends on a cliffhanger I’m afraid with a bit of a wait before the next book comes out to satisfy the curiosity.

Rating: -A

Last Breath

Last Breath

Next Page »