Midnight Alley (Morganville Vampires) by Rachel Caine
|Midnight Alley (Morganville Vampires) by Rachel Caine|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: Strange lessons for Claire add to the strangeness of the whole Morganville experience - meanwhile dead bodies pile up, Shane gets fruitier - it's still more of the same, if not quite as sterling as last time out.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: September 2008|
|Publisher: Allison and Busby|
Well, wrong again. I thought I had this book sown up from the ending of book two in the series - the nasty boy would be nastier and the vampires sharing the town of Morganville with our human heroes and heroines would clamp down on him in some vicious way. But no, I got it wrong. The book refused to behave - happily.
Also misbehaving is the Queen of the Vampires, tasking Claire, our put-upon boffin chief heroine, with slightly different college classes than she was taking - out goes the simple science she was easing through like a hot stake through a vampire, and in comes vampire lore, alchemy and more. The reasons why will permeate the whole cycle of nine books from now on.
Also misbehaving is the Queen of the posh queeny bratty girl bullies, Monica - actually talking to Claire without a sneer on her face, and getting let into the household with Claire's rather chequered buddies. The reasons why will certainly go beyond the pages of this book too.
This series is quickly becoming the definitive vampire franchise for the discerning teen reader (or reader of teen books, anyway). There are eyebrows raised as, not for the first time, vampires and humans just stroll through doorways into parties on enemy territory without a strict invite - something we all know vampire law forbids. But elsewhere Caine is still adding to the richness of her urban fantasy, with unexpected sci-fi elements (wormholes etc) getting merged into things. You still won't need to have the near-genius of Claire to follow these, though.
Nor would you need too many smarts to get a lot out of the story, again a twisty, dark and thoroughly gripping look at the life of innocent teens in such an unusual, and well-defined world. There are returning characters galore, dying people left, right and centre, and we're learning a lot more that is new, as well as seeing the benefits of the groundwork laid in the first pair of volumes.
If anything this one isn't quite as well-sustained and concise as the earlier books, but such sterling heights are hard to sustain. It still certainly deserves four and a half stars (a bit less if you're new to the series here), and apart from my reacting to the PG-certificate teenage fumblings with an 'oh get over it' anti-Puritanism, I still found a host of surprises, sharp, quickly dramatic scenes and strong vampiric characterisations here - and that's before the last page.
The series began with the obvious place to start - Glass Houses: The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine. There's still nothing about the books we fail to find commendable.
Once again I'm thanking Allison and Busby for my review copy.
Until the Morganville Vampires came on the scene everyone was talking about Twilight. There's competition now.
You can read more book reviews or buy Midnight Alley (Morganville Vampires) by Rachel Caine at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Midnight Alley (Morganville Vampires) by Rachel Caine at Amazon.com.
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