Feast of Fools (Morganville Vampires) by Rachel Caine
|Feast of Fools (Morganville Vampires) by Rachel Caine|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A slight change in approach does not mean this fourth book in the series is any the worse - Rachel Caine is still well worth investigating for girly teen vampire thrills.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: February 2009|
|Publisher: Allison and Busby|
So, as this cycle reaches the middle ground (book four of nine) we finally get a clearer look at what it might entail overall. Just as Rachel Caine manages to hide the real gist of her plots from us until the midway point (as she does again here), so we get a better glimpse at what the future for all the characters might be. New vampire Michael is still at odds with his housemates overturning (well, he had been a ghost, so it shouldn't have been such a jarring progression), Shane is being tempted big time, and as for Claire, our young, brainy heroine - her links with the future of the entire vampire enclave that is Morganville is alluding to some destiny forever linking her to dodgy old vampires, ice-cold queen vampires, and of course what walked in the door at the end of book three.
So we get less of the brooding, police-concerning life under vampire rule that made the first trilogy so distinguished. It's pretty clear-cut that Claire and Shane will never get their rocks off, and there will never be perfect harmony between the Glass House residents. But with the arrival of an old Mister Big to combat the Mrs Big and upset the status quo, we see perhaps a more routine adventure thriller.
That's not to say the book is any the worse, for in the hands of Caine there is still a lot to recommend. Some of the tautness is borne through there being quite a few pages less this time (OK, the book's as fat as ever but the font's a lot larger), some by the obvious tensions played out between psychopathic humans, even more dangerous undead, and the fact that there are still far too many secrets for Claire to uncover for anyone to rest easy.
It's not a huge digression from the start of the series, then, but I can see this as being a sort of handy midway place to jump on, were one so inclined. The two-page summary is the first offered for us to play recap, and the immediacy of all the characters and situations allow us to absorb all the twisty, convoluted plot elements very nicely.
In fact there is a template becoming more and more obvious - the social gathering turning sour and dangerous only being added to the delayed reveal of main plot strand, and the forced-into-every-chapter scenario of Claire leaving the house against someone's will. Caine seems to have completely abandoned the threshold rules regarding who is allowed into where, but she still handles her human psychology as well as her vampire mythology.
For that and more I can see myself sticking with this series - even if there are twinges here of Claire becoming too obviously messianic too quickly, and the cycle broadening out into big control battles when the smaller conflicts aplenty of old were so commendable. The state of play at the time of writing is that the UK gets volume 5 in July, and the US market part 7 in November 2009. It's a pity I'll be forced to wait two years or so then for the big reveal, but the ride, I am sure, will be worth the price of admission.
And those glow in the dark covers will need to be collected en route - something even Stephenie Meyer doesn't have.
I must thank Allison and Busby again for my review copy.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Feast of Fools (Morganville Vampires) by Rachel Caine at Amazon.com.
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