Lord of Misrule (The Morganville Vampires) by Rachel Caine

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Lord of Misrule (The Morganville Vampires) by Rachel Caine

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A slightly unwelcome turn of fortunes for what had been a brilliant series of books regarding a young lady's life in a town full of dying vampires. Too many of the qualities fade away in favour of a broader action that is not distinguished.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 258 Date: July 2009
Publisher: Allison and Busby
ISBN: 978-0749007577

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I have said several times that Rachel Caine is most adept when it comes to offering more than we expect. In several of her Morganville books she has entertained us for half a book, then dropped the main crux of the story on us, finally guiding us towards the real action, while never negating what has gone before and making that seem like padding. How unfortunate then that she didn't quite pull it off once more here.

This is book five in the series, and so the worst place to start (before volume six turns up in our stores). So while there is an expectation that we have got the ground rules laid out, and we should know more of the general gist of everything by now, it was a pity that the flaws of this book are more evident because of this. So we know who is who, and what is what, and what the state of play is. Newcomers will come into the action at the start here, with several of our heroes split up on their own errands, with muscle power or vampire power as back-up, without a clue.

Once that is over, we have a nice bit of vampires being turned into lemmings, as it were, and there we are, reaching the midway mark, in both the book and the series, and wondering a little where the twists, the dark thrusts, the surprises, the unexpected links between characters human and vampire, had got to. If I had to liken this to anything, I would evoke Alien with its tension and taut, novel strengths, opening out into Aliens, and going all gung-ho, broad and frankly mediocre on us.

I still think Caine is a great writer, when it comes to simply enveloping us in an intriguing - and never very simple - scenario, guiding us through the whole story arc with a strong and engaging heroine, like our Claire here. But we suddenly gain a new character, a butch warrior mechanic called Hannah, and even that seems unexpected in a bad way. We lose the bonds of the Glass House inhabitants - Michael is barely a footnote, Eve absent too. Heck, I even (nearly) missed the chased Claire and chaste Shane canoodling.

Luckily we do soon fall on familiar ground, but it is noticeable that it is a stand-off, and a stalemate, that drives the second half of this volume, rather than a thumping great twist or new lesson for us all. Beyond those initial troubles, we are almost back to the standard of the earlier numbers, helped along by this, my favourite quote from the whole cycle so far:- Silence, or be silenced. When I want to know your opinion, I'll consult your entrails. It's better in context.

There are several reasons why I cannot favour a large series such as this. Even if it makes the whole undertaking more daunting, having all nine ready for me in one go, I always find it best to wait until they are all published - not least because by then the publishers have settled on a finished, final design for them all (this book looks nothing like my first four). And perhaps this franchise provides another reason - there might well be a drop in quality midway.

I don't want you to think this is a particularly large drop, or to make out this is a heinous sin on the first four books - the need to learn more of Morganville, Claire, Mr Bishop and all the rest is still strong, but there was an evident drop in all that was of such quality in driving the books. A final clue to me was the blurb writer concentrating on something that only features in the last 20%. We did again near the supremely recommendable heights of before - I hope further books do not suffer such twinges.

Take chunks out of my Bookbag rating if you haven't read book four at least before this one.

I must thank Allison and Busby for my review copy.

Seeing as we got a butch female mechanic added to the series here, I am forced to mention Moon Called by Patricia Briggs, which is the start of a series certainly worthy of a 15 certificate, but one the teen readers of Caine could easily graduate to.

Buy Lord of Misrule (The Morganville Vampires) by Rachel Caine at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Lord of Misrule (The Morganville Vampires) by Rachel Caine at Amazon.co.uk

Buy Lord of Misrule (The Morganville Vampires) by Rachel Caine at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Lord of Misrule (The Morganville Vampires) by Rachel Caine at Amazon.com.


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