Fade Out - Rachel Caine
After a little break, I have decided to continue 'The Morganville Vampire' set reviews to give prospective readers a full insight of the whole set.
Rachel Caine is the well known author of 'The Weather Warden' series (to which I am yet to read). There is no need to read 'The Weather Warden' series before going on to this set of books as there is no link, though I would highly recommend reading this set right from the very beginning otherwise there will be a lot in which you would fail to understand. It is also a good idea to read from the beginning as the story, characters and whole excitement and anticipation grows from beginning to end.
I have always been a fan of the fantasy genre which includes such subjects of vampires, and have read many takes on the subject in various different novels and sets, and so when starting a new set I always like to see something different as, even though I love this genre, I can not stand books which follow the same story lines. Luckily, after the first book, this set has branched out into its own world filled with vampires, and although I can not quite put my finger on it, these books bring a whole new light to the genre.
This book is the seventh installment of 'The Morganville Vampire' saga. To date there are eleven books out with a twelfth book due out in November of this year (2011).
The first six books in the series are;
The Dead Girls Dance
Feast of Fools
Lord of Misrule
I won't list the whole set here, though you are able to find the set titles and synopsis' on Rachel Caine's website.
With that all said, let me take you into the review itself.
THTL - TOO HOT TO LIVE
"Personally, Claire wanted the vampire bunny slippers"
Claire Danvers moved unwittingly to the small college town of Morganville only a few months before, and her life has never been the same since...
Without wanting to give anything away, I do not want to outline the story so far in any detail, though to give you an idea of how much has passed I feel some background is necessary. If you would like to read a little bit more of the past books and background, please feel free to visit my recent book reviews.
Claire Danvers is a year ahead of her peers and her parents felt that she was too young to attend her preferred college many miles away, so she enrolled in the college in the small town of Morganville, without knowing exactly what the town was built for. Most of the students go through a couple of years and transfer out without ever understanding the world outside of the campus, though after being thrown down the stairs by the college bully and her friends, Claire moved in with three slightly older people and it was then that she fell into the scary world of Morganville, and now she just can not leave, and when the meanest Vampire's even meaner father came to town, Claire found herself fighting not only for her and her friends lives, but for the lives of the more cold blooded also.
Fade Out begins slightly differently to the other books with a much longer time frame in between the ending of the previous book to the start of this book. To be perfectly honest, I was really unsure as to where this series would go now as the last book really rounded the story off nicely. It almost felt as though the author decided to end the series before having second thoughts and penning out a further book. This can be seen in the style of this book. It is almost as though it is a new set with the same characters, if it were not for the underlying issues which continue almost silently throughout this book.
Now that the evil Vampire, Bishop, has vanished from the town of Morganville, the resident vampires have made major concessions to the human population, and with their new found freedom, Claire and her friends are almost starting to feel comfortable again.
Life seems almost back to normal with Claire returning to her studies and Eve joining the local theatre company, though not long after she begins rehearsing, one of her cast mates goes missing. It becomes apparent that she had another agenda in Morganville, and Eve begins to suspect the worst when her documentary about the vampires in the town is found. It becomes clear that the documentary is a whole lot bigger...and more dangerous...than anyone expected.
To be perfectly honest, if I had simply read the synopsis of the first book without a friends recommendation then I do not think that I would have started this set of books as the synopsis of each of them is something to be desired, and certainly reads as though it should be read by younger teenagers only, though right from the word go (and more so from book two onwards), this set of books have been compelling and a great read, no matter what your age! At first, the story and characters did seem a little two dimensional, though as the books continued on, both story and characters grew into a much more well rounded world, with information and background seeping out about the town and characters if and when needed. This book continues on this important growth and once again, we learn more about specific characters and I feel that the whole book has really grown up since the very first page of book one. If anything, the 'new start' to the series brings a whole new light to the characters, even if the story does seem to stretch a little to make it work.
The story can be read almost like a stand-alone book, though as mentioned above, I would not recommend this. The whole style seems very different in this book compared to the previous books, and it almost reads like a very early 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' episode. I am a big fan of the 'Buffy' series, and so you would expect me to love this book, though due to the fact I have really enjoyed all the previous books, I felt that this change in style seemed odd and out-of-place. On a lighter note, though, the grammatical errors which have plagued the previous books have certainly been extinguished to a large part which makes for a much steadier and easier read. The flow stays almost the same as the previous books with action of nearly every single page which keeps the reader guessing right to the very end. Like with the first book, though, this action does take its time to get started, though once the story is in full flow, so is the action and excitement.
Although this book is primarily about vampires, I feel that I must mention that there are quite a few topical scenes and conversations throughout which relate very easily to our own human world, and in this book, like the last couple, some of these issues lean towards a more adult perspective. Firstly, the amount of choice language used has grown vastly since the first book, and although it is not over-used or 'in-your-face' as such, it is very apparent and can get quite strong. There are also many scenes that touch on a sexual nature. Although in this book these scenes have dimmed down slightly, they are still there in the background and sexual conversations and innuendos are used throughout. Like the language, though, these scenes are written really well and nothing graphical appears within the scenes, though at some points all you need is a little imagination and the scene almost happens right in front of you. Like previous books, there are also subjects of abuse, torture and murder, both in the fantasy setting as well as via the human characters. These are, once again, well written and thought out though also very believable and some are very strong scenes.
I often find in other books which are part of a larger set that they are a little like film sequels, as in they start to go down hill the further into the set they go. Up until the last book, I had not felt this way at all, though this book has been rather a let down compared to the rest. It begs the question as to whether the author should have quit whilst she was ahead, though with many other books to follow this one, I do wonder whether she will get her style back or not. In saying this, I do not feel that this book was a total flop as there are many moments which are fantastic (or should that be fangtastic?!), though I did feel a huge disappointment when reading.
This story is largely about vampires, and if this genre does not appeal to you, then I doubt that you would be interested, though there are also many other aspects within the pages such as different kinds of love and friendship, family issues, power and life in general.
So what makes this book any different to other vampire novels?
At first, it seems that these books will follow the same course that most vampire novels do, though with the unique style and idea of both the characters and the town itself really brings it into its own. There are many things within this book, like the previous books, which seem very new to me and I have read many vampire novels so this is certainly a great plus! The other huge difference to many novels is also the length with eleven books in the set and growing! After reading this book, though, I am not sure whether the eleven book set is a good thing or a bad thing. Only time will tell!
One thing which I find very important in a book is the ending. A story can be written perfectly, though if the ending is wrong, then it gives me a really terrible feel to the whole book, almost as though I feel my time was wasted reading it, even if I did enjoy the rest of the story.
So how does the ending of this book compare?
The ending of this book was perhaps the best thing about the whole story. Although it was not as heightened and exciting as previous books, it managed to climb its way back up and left me wanting more, even though I had felt disappointed throughout most of the book. The ending came back with a vengeance which certainly made up for the lack of style in the rest of the story.
The story was 345 pages long, which seems average for these set of books, and so it did not take me long to read it. The interesting track list has once again been added to the back of the book with some interesting songs which really do suit the story. Interesting, though not necessary.
Fade Out stood out from this set as much of a disappointment throughout most of the story. Its style was completely different, and it almost felt as though the story was being forced out. The ending did make up for the lack of interesting storyline near the beginning, and I do hope that the books after this regain some control and bring the story back to how it once was as the ending has left me wanting more, though if more entails the same style as this book, it may be that the next book will be my last. Such a shame that such a great series has this one disappointment within it.
The more adult influence in this book was certainly welcomed and drove the story from young adult into more adult realms which was a great addition. The story has become more unique and the characters have really found their footing well.
Fade Out is, in the main, a horror fantasy book which is an international best seller. It is listed as a young adult read, though I have found that this whole set is perfect for any lover of this genre, adult and young adult alike!
The RRP on this book is £6.99 which is an average and very reasonable price for such a great book, though as with many books these days (especially those which have been out a while!) there are many ways of getting your hands on a book for much less. If you have 'The Works' shop near you, each book of the series (except the second one as they seem to always be out) is priced at an amazing £1.99, and to place the cherry on the top, they have the deal of three for £5 which is really great, especially as there are so many books in this series. Amazon have this book there at the moment from between £0.01p and £4.19 not including postage and packaging. It is also available on the Kindle for £3.98.
After finally defeating the vampire Bishop, and saving the town of Morganville from certain destruction, it seems that a very uneasy truce has been called between the human and vampire population left, though the humans have finally been given a few more concessions.
This said the vampire population seems to be a slight disadvantage, and with minority's there are always extremists, even in the vampire community.
After the local vampire historian and all round bitch, Kim, goes missing, it soon becomes apparent that she may well have more than one enemy, when cameras recording the existence of vampires are found dotted around Morganville.
Will Claire, Shane, Eve and Michael be able to hide the evidence, or will Morganville be "outed", big brother style?
As with the majority of the previous books in this series I was completely hooked from the first page, and never seem to be able to put it down once stated, though luckily this is a day reader (finishing in no more than a couple of sessions).
Once more I am drawn to the burgeoning sex life between two of the four main characters, these being Claire,(an incredibly intelligent young woman, so intelligent she has been employed by town elder Amelie to help the ever sickening vampire population) and Shane (the town hunk, and son to a vampire killer, this obviously doesn't make him very popular with the undead in town!).
Their young love is so lovely to read about, being both passionate and raw, I love how the warmth and pain of your first true love is portrayed within the book, with this in itself being a huge draw to he series.
The second is of course the vampires, but be under no illusions that thee are your average "Twilight" vampires, crooning and refraining from human blood, the vampires in this town will offer protection in exchange for your unending service and a pint or two of blood a month!
Unlike some of the other books in the series I didn't feel the underlying sense of unease in the storyline, I am normally waiting for something to happen or jump out and attack, and though this did happen as much as the previous books, I didn't feel any concern for the characters safety, which could be the writing style, or more possibly the fact I have read two books from the series straight after each other, so maybe a little jaded!
In this book there is much more information on how the town itself is run, with many of the unanswered questions concerning time travel (via portals controlled by the town computer Ada) being explained, and even a gruesome method of how a vampire could actually kill themselves, clever but a bit gruesome too!
All in all this was a really enjoyable read, one that took no time at all, though I do hope the sense of foreboding becomes more evident in the next book in the series.
Price wise this has a RRP of £6.99, but is available from "the works", 3 for £5.00, bargain!
Thanks for reading x
Fade Out is the 7th book in The Morganville Vampire series by Rachel Caine.
Here's what has happened so far
Claire Danvers moved to Morganville to go to college early at 16. After being bullied in the dorms by Monica and her popular friends, Claire moved into Glass House with Michael, Shane and Eve, where she soon discovered that Morganville was ran by vampires. Michael was a ghost and now he's a vampire, Shane is Claire's boyfriend and Eve is her best friend. Shane's crazy Dad turned up and tried to take out the vampires. Claire had to sign herself over to Amelie to ensure protection for her and her friends which resulted in working for Myrnin, a crazy, sick vampire. Eve's brother came back after being in jail and dead girls began to turn up all over the place. Then, Mr Bishop, Amelie's father turned up and took control of Morganville.
Now that Bishop is no longer ruling Morganville, things are beginning to get back to normal...as normal as they can get anyway. Claire is attempting to get back on track with her studies and her friends are trying to get their lives back on track but nothing is ever simple in Morganville.
When Eve joins a local theatre production and makes friends with Kim, Claire finds her emotions all over the place. Is Eve replacing Claire as her best friend? What does Eve have to do with Shane? When Kim begins working on a documentary and goes missing, Claire and her friends are left to figure out what's going on and what Kim was really filming. Secrets captured on tape could ruin life as they know it for everyone in Morganville.
What I thought
As much as I enjoyed the long-running plot through books 1-6, I am glad to see that The Morganville Vampires series is now moving on. With Morganville as peaceful as possible after Bishop's visit, I was wondering where the story would go. Most of the trouble has come from vampires at this point, with the exception of Shane's Dad so when I realised that a human was causing problems, I was relieved to learn that the story would revolve around Kim this time. Not all of the vampires in these books are completely bad so I liked the fact that Rachel Caine was cutting them some slack in book 7.
The plot was an interesting one and completely different from what has happened so far in this series. I loved the fact that Kim's project was very up to date and very believable. I don't want to give away anything about what is really going on but I could see it really happening should this book have been a reality. Sometimes in books in this genre, the plot can be quite unbelievable but Rachel Caine makes sure that readers can relate to and understand what is happening.
Although there is still the action that I have become accustomed to in these books, it isn't the whole way through the story this time. I feel as though Rachel Caine has really tried to mix things up in Fade Out, making it more of a standalone book compared to the rest. The action towards the end of the book was just as good as I had expected it to be but I was glad to see a slightly slower pace for the first half.
A good portion of this book follows Claire, Eve, Shane and Michael in their normalish, every day lives and what they are doing now Bishop is gone. It was nice to see everyone come out of their normal roles and try something different for a change, the biggest being Shane actually getting a job. The job he does get is perfectly fitting for his character and personality and it provided some comedy, like he always does. Then there is Michael, who is embracing being a vampire and finally stepping back into the spotlight with his guitar. Just reading about these four characters doing normal things were some of the funniest parts of the series and a large amount was down to the witty banter between them all.
One of the best things about Fade Out is that it has an actual ending. I don't think I could have taken many more heart stopping cliff-hangers. I was so grateful to finish this book and feel completely satisfied with what I had just read. Don't get me wrong, I was still desperate to read Kiss of Death but not in the same way as I had with others in the series. Fade Out has really set the scene for the next book and I cant wait to find out what interesting and exciting things are going to happen next.