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The Morganville Vampire series was something that I was introduced to through reading reviews. Although this is Young Adult fiction in the vampire genre, and I am not usually particularly drawn to this, I did feel that the series sounded interesting and I was keen to check it out myself. I spotted the first six books in the series on sale for £3 with The Book People so I treat myself to them to read on my summer holidays. I quickly devoured these, and ended up buying books 7-11 for my kindle as I had enjoyed the series so much.
Feast of Fools is book 4 in the Morganville Vampire series. Set in the fictional town of Morganville in Texas, the series is an interesting take of humans and vampires living together in not quite harmony, but in a way that is not too hazardous to human survival.
The balance is well and truly upset in this novel though. At the end of Book 3, a new vampire arrived in town along with main character Claire Danver's parents, and the tension has well and truly been notched up. The new vampire Bishop doesn't abide by the rules at all, and his arrival causes the danger for humans to increase.
Life has got decidedly strange for Claire since moving to Morganville to study. She lives with a vampire who used to be a ghost, and she works for the town's oldest vampire. She studies with the crazy vampire Myrnin who is losing his mind, and she is never sure if she will meet friend or foe when she works for him.
In this book, Claire is maturing rapidly, which would happen when you are put in life threatening situations on a daily basis. Her parents have moved to town, so as well as being worried about them, she is also working hard to find a cure to a vampire disease, as well as being in a relationship with her housemate Shane which is becoming much more serious. There is a lot at stake for Claire in this novel, and she has to work hard to stay in control of her emotions. Her brain is also working overtime trying to work out the power play going on between the vampires in town.
I feel while this series may have started out aimed at young adults, and is not explicit enough to exclude this audience, there is a lot in here for adults too. The whole book starts off dramatically and is set just minutes after the end of book 3. This tension and drama is somthing that is evident throughout the book, and the fear builds up as you read towards the Feast that is the main event of this novel, as alluded to in the title. I feel this series is definitely getting a bit darker as it progresses and also the relationships are getting a bit less PG. While it remains quite simple and quick to read, there is nothing missing from the writing technique and the suspense is built beautifully.
The first time I read this I felt like I was devouring it, reading the whole thing within a day then moving straight onto the next part. This was too quick as it was not appreciating this novel enough by allowing time to digest the plot before moving on. The author puts in some clues to how it will progress if you read it slower, and when I zoomed through it, I missed things as a result. There is still enough that will surprise you too.
I think anyone who enjoys vampire fiction should definitely read this, and if you are not sure about the genre then you should also get hold of a copy as it will drag you along at a hell of a pace. I highly recommend the series as a whole, but this book is one of the best ones in the series. It is still so fresh, and high paced, and I could not put it down at all. I can imagine me reading it a few more times yet and still enjoying it, and I don't often make time to re-read fiction books so I think that shows I have found it very entertaining.
If I made a list of my favourite books this would miss out on the top spot only because of Bite Club, its truly a great book because the characters seem much more real this time round. Claire finally starts to show a darker side when she gets jealous over Ysandre being after Shane (she even has a few thoughts of killing her and dumps holy water on her at one point) Michael shows how disgusted he is with what he has to do to survive since becoming a vamp. Eve is her usual sarcastic self for a lot of it but she seems much more like a real person after her dad dies. Shane only suffers a little growing up in my opinion with Ysandre pursuing him and getting inside his head to make him want her. This makes all the characters seem more real as it can show how deceptive their appearance when the books start is (Eve seems like an ironic goth but turns out to just be hiding her fears behind makeup and drama, Shane seems like a slacker who couldnt care less when first introduced but hes shown here to be shaken over certain things, granted Michael hasnt changed much besides the fangs but at the start Claire was just a mousy little girl who couldnt protect herself, now she wants to kill vamps) Some new characters introduced here with vampires Bishop (Amelies father) Francois (French guy I guess) and Ysandre (hot skank) coming to town. Everyones favourite little psycho Jason returns, Sam, Oliver, Myrnin and Amelie all have important parts to play, oh and Claire fails a test, major surprises throughout the book, Id reccomend it to anyone in the world.
Feast of Fools - Rachel Caine
I am a fan of many genres of novel, though one which has been a favourite of mine for many years is the fantasy genre which includes such subjects of vampires. One recent set of books I have been drawn into (which you might have guessed from my previous reviews) is a large set of books by Rachel Caine; The Morganville Vampire saga. To date there are eleven books out with a twelfth book due out in November of this year (2011). I had been strongly recommended these books by a friend and I haven't looked back since!
Feast of Fools is the fourth installment to the Morganville Vampires series. The first three books in the series are; 'Glass Houses', 'The Dead Girls Dance', and 'Midnight Alley'.
I won't list the whole set here, though you are able to find the set titles and synopsis' on Rachel Caine's website.
A BOOK WHICH DOES NOT SUCK...MUCH!
"I have the feeling I've been-- unpleasant"
In the town of Morganville, vampires and humans have learnt to live in a relative peace, though the humans all still know that after dark, homework can take a back seat to staying alive. Soon, though, this tenuous harmony which has built up over many years is threatened with the new arrival of Mr. Bishop, Amelie's father in all senses of the word.
Mr. Bishop is bad to the bone, ancient and very old-school. He cares nothing about keeping the peace as he arrives in Morganville, ready to cause chaos for his all powerful vampire daughter Amelie, and he does not care who he brings down with him, whether they are vampire or human. All he cares about is staying at the top of the food chain, disrupting his daughter's plans and getting his cold, boney hands on something which has plagued the vampires of Morganville for many years.
You would think with all the upheaval and violence which Mr. Bishop and his cronies bring with them, there would be no time for anything else, though a surprising set of invitations start making their way around Morganville from vampires to their human 'guests' to attend a formal ball hosted by none other than Mr. Bishop himself, though as Claire soon realizes, the ball is not like any other anyone has ever attended, and it is not long before she realizes Bishops evil plan and the elaborately evil trap he has set for the warm-blooded humans and cold-blooded traitors of Morganville.
Is this the end of the warm-blooded humans of the town? Can Claire and her friends join forces with the cold-blooded vampires in time to stop Bishop, or will it be too late for everyone?
As with the first two books of the series, the synopsis alone did nothing much to entice a new reader into the saga as in a lot of ways, it read very similar to other novels of this self same genre, though from the very beginning of the collection, I realized that there was so much more to this exciting tale than any of the book covers illustrated. Even when I am typing out the above brief description, I have to remind myself that there is so much more within this book than the write-up allows. I did not want to give too much away, especially if readers have not even picked up the first book yet (which is a must!), though I feel that I must mention that this book, like the first, is not like any other vampire series. True, there are many similarities to other fictional stories of this nature, though I feel that these books take on a whole new level. It seems the further into the series I get, the more the story and characters grow and branch out, creating a whole new world of fantasy and excitement, not forgetting the bloodshed and violence. It also seems as though the story grows up slightly as the books continue forth. The main character Claire seems to grow up a little through the stories and it seems that the books are mirrored on this growth. Do not expect it to grow too quickly, though, as there has only been a matter of months since Claire arrived in the town, even though this is book four!
Feast of Fools continues immediately where the previous book finished, without any time to breath. The situation stays in the same place as though you have continued the same book. There is no time gap in the slightest, though there is a page or recap beforehand to remind you of what has just happened, though as all the books are already out (and if you are like me!) you will probably have gone and bought them all together as they are really quite a great read. If you have not bought them all yet, I would certainly suggest purchasing book three, four and five at the same time as they really do read like one whole book instead of three.
As mentioned, there is a page of recap before this fourth story begins, though this is not really enough to fill you in right from the beginning of the series, so I would recommend starting with book one and reading from there. This may sound odd, though I have been known to pick up a book part way through a series and not realize before. Some books you can fall straight into without needing to read the previous books, though I feel that this book especially is not one of these. You will also miss the great anticipation growth and excitement build up that comes with reading this set from the start, and I feel that by missing this alone is missing the whole sense of the books and they may be more of a let down read as one-off books.
Unlike the first two books, the previous book had grown away from its tameness and had started to delve into the more dark a theme. This book continues this darkness perfectly, and if anything, it seems to emanate from the pages with even more force. This does not happen immediately, though, and it takes a little while for the darkness to reach its peak, though the action pretty much begins straight away. The 'darkness' as expected does come from the vampire genre, though there is a lot of other 'dark' issues to consider. Although these set of books were originally aimed at young adults, they are also suitable for the older adult (such as myself even though I do not like to admit it!) and there are also a few issues which seem more relevant for the older reader. Such issues include death, murder, torture and kidnap as well as certain age appropriate sexual contact and discussions. There are also references to drink and drug abuse. I should also mention that the choice language becomes even more heightened in this book, and at times rather strong with numerous uses of the 'f-word' as well as actions that correspond. This is not exactly overused, and does not stand out as wrong though there is a growing amount within this book compared to the previous books.
Since starting this set, I have grown accustomed to the style and flow. I have mentioned the style briefly above, though I wanted to reiterate that the action slides alongside the actual flow of the story, making the whole read very fast and exhilarating and quite often you feel as though you are barely able to take a breath. There are a few more moments of stillness in this book, though by the end it has picked up greatly and goes back to its usual fast pace action. In the past books, I have almost felt overwhelmed with al the information and goings-on packed in to such a short space throughout the whole book, though with this one, I felt a lot more relaxed reading it (until near the very end!). I am not sure whether this is to do with the fact that the speed of the text has slowed down greatly, or whether it is due to actually being very accustomed to the style, or perhaps a bit of both. Either way, the flow whether fast or slow keeps me entertained and pulls me right in to the story.
Like with the other books, the back cover has a review by SFX Magazine which relates this book to the Twilight series, though as with the previous books, and even more so with this one, I felt as though this book broke far away from the Twilight feel. In the first book, I found a number of small similarities; though by the time you get to this book, you will not notice anything the same. It began taking on a whole new world of its own, especially in the last book, and this continues on it this book, spreading further away from the Twilight feel.
I have already mentioned many parts of the story above, and certainly do not want to give anything away to any potential readers, though 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. As of yet, I have not felt this way at all about these books. If anything, it is the other way around. This book has continued the story so far with such strengths, and although there are moments in which stand out as being a little off, for the main part, the story grows from strength to strength throughout. It is a stable story with some really well written characters which pull you in to the world almost immediately. On the subject of the characters, I really feel that this book highlights their different personalities so much more than any previous book. We are gradually getting more background about the characters (both main and more minor characters) and the relationships between the four main characters as well as relationships with other lesser (though still important) characters are really starting to glow. I would not say that the characterizations are anything new or spectacular, though the author writes each one with such reality that you could easily see them talking to you in your living room.
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 and life in general.
One thing that has really started to annoy me about these books is the grammar. Luckily, the story itself grabs my attention so fully that I am able to overlook the grammatical errors, though this is still certainly something which may stand out to a lot of readers. Not only are there a lot of typos and other errors with individual words being used wrong, there are also a lot of confusions. For example, although it is not written in the first person point of view, it is written from Claire's perspective though many a time, I felt as though the author forgot exactly what style she was writing as it seemed to slip quite often into Claire's perspective as said from her own mouth as if she is telling the story. I do admit that this part specifically does seem a little better in this book than the previous one, though it is still apparent throughout the book.
So what makes this book any different to other vampire novels?
Although the general concept is similar to many books of this genre, the whole situation, the characters and the author's style really aid these books well. I am not sure exactly what it is about these set of books, and specifically this one, though there is just something which really hooks you in and holds you tightly.
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?
I have found that as each book continues, I feel that the last one is the best. The stories just keep getting better and better, and this also applies to the ending of the books. The ending of this book really brings everything to a heightened degree of excitement and the tension and action is at its utmost in the final part of this book. The whole book, and more so the second half, and the whole set of books so far in fact, seem to have been leading up to what this ending has given us. It is certainly not a rounded up ending as this is the style of this author with a huge cliffhanger which makes you 'need' the next book straight away, though it does round up this particular book much better than previous book endings. If anything, this ending has left me more excited about this set than any of the books so far, and I can not wait to read on. (Lucky for me I have already purchased all ten books out so far so there is no waiting!)
The story was 367 pages long, which seems average for these set of books, and so it did not take me long to read it. There was no surprising addition of a diary excerpt at the end here though, which in my opinion was no great loss.
Feast of Fools was a fantastic fourth addition to what has already been such an exciting set of books with a lot of promise as to what is to come. In my opinion, the books in themselves are just getting better and better, and so far, this one has to be my favorite of the lot (and I know I said that about the last book, though as I said - they just keep getting better!). Although the action is still intense, I did feel that I was able to grab a hold of my thoughts more often in this third book, especially at the beginning. After the poor ending of the last book, this ending really took it to the extreme and completely made up for it.
The more adult influence in this fourth book was certainly welcomed and drove the story from young adult into more adult realms which was a great addition. The story became even more unique and the characters really found their footing in this book. Of course, the book is not without its flaws (of which have been mentioned above), though I feel I was able to overlook most of these and fall right into the great story with ease. I would certainly recommend this book to those who love this type of story. I have already bought the next lot of books in the set and am looking forward to seeing where this story will go as it ended with a lot of possibilities.
Feast of Fools is, in the main, a horror fantasy book which is an international best seller. It is listed as a young adult read, though I personally found it very compelling a read and I have long since left my teen years!
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 £2.81 (postage and packaging included).
After reading the first few books in the "Morganville" vampire series of books, with much success I was more than happy to get going on the next book in the series, "Feast of fools by Rachel Caine".
Things looked to be finally calming down, Claire has finally got a grasp on her new secret project to find a cure for the dying vampires and has found a way to work the lovely (when lucid) but completely insane ancient and at times incredible dangerous Myrnin, though this is usually though the new range o drugs and darting method developed by a fellow helper at the local university!
Everything is tuned on it's head with the unexpected arrival of Claire's parents with a group of three people they picked up on the road into town, the excuse was that their car had broken down, but it soon becomes apparent that "Mr Bishop" is a figure many of the old vamp community remember, and not fondly...........
This book turns everything you think you knew about the characters of this book onto their heads, with the so called common enemies' (humans and vampires) having to join forces to try and stop Mr Bishop from taking over their town, though you never quite now who is on who's side, as there seems to have been a bit forward planning and recruiting of "forces", so there is double crossing a plenty from both factions.
There is always a real sense of menace with these books, so that when the inevitable scene's happen where someone gets bit you are already a wreck with the anticipation of said act, though this said there is not a great deal of violence, sex or language to speak of in the book, making this a bit more accessible to the teenager age group, which is ideal as the book is all "vampires and teenage angst" but in a slightly more dark way than Twilight was.
This was another fantastic read that took me no time at all to whiz through and left me wanting to get stuck into the next book in the series, recommended!
Price wise this is available via www.amazon.co.uk for around the £4.00 mark.
Thanks for reading x
Feast of Fools is the 4th book in The Morganville Vampires 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 he seems to be the scariest vampire of them all.
Feast of Fools
The vampires in Morganville thought that Mr Bishop was long dead, properly dead, and that he could never come back. When they learn of his arrival, panic begins to set in. Once it is known that he is in town, invitations are sent out for a huge masked ball but it seems that Claire and Myrnin are the only ones not attending. Even Shane gets invited by Ysandre, one of Mr Bishop's 'friends'.
Claire and Myrnin are still working on the cure to his disease but they aren't getting very far. All of the vampires are taking human dates to the ball and it's down to Claire and Myrnin to take time out from their research to figure out what Mr Bishop's plans are before it's too late.
What I thought
If you haven't read any of the Morganville books and you start with this one, you are going to be one very confused reader. Rachel Caine does provide a 'story so far' in the beginning of the book but I really feel like, due to the long running story, that you need to start with book 1, Glass Houses.
So at the end of Midnight Alley, Mr Bishop and his vampire friends turned up at Glass House so the beginning of this book was quite action packed. Claire, Shane, Michael and Eve know that there is something terrifying about him but think they can handle him but soon find out just how wrong they were. I loved how there was so much going on in the first chapter because it gave me an idea of what the rest of the book was going to be like. Each book in this series so far has had a little theme going on and this one's was definitely action. From books 1 to 3, there has been a lead up to something HUGE happening and this is where it all comes to a head, for a little while at least. This is Morganville after all.
Claire's character development seems to come to a bit of a stand-still in this book but not necessarily in a bad way, not in my eyes anyway. 3 books in and Claire has already learnt a great deal about her new home and what actually goes on there so apart from little mysteries here and there, she doesn't really have much to learn in that department. Claire has already grown quite a lot as a character and has gone from not really knowing much about the world, to fending off vampires, answering back and having a steady, older boyfriend so in many ways, she now seems a lot older than she was to begin with. I really like the new kick-ass side to Claire because she although she is actually terrified, she'll still do whatever it takes to save the day without a second thought.
Some of the secondary characters, especially Sam, really came into their own in Feast of Fools and we get to see a completely different side to the vampires. Just when I thought I had certain vampires sussed, they did something that made me change my mind and end up not really knowing what they are like at all. The twists that Rachel Caine throws into each book is what keeps the series so interesting and addictive.
Rachel Caine puts a lot of effort and detail into the descriptions in each book which makes me really feel like a part of the story. I can totally imagine walking through the streets of Morganville, sitting in Common Grounds coffee shop and sitting on the sofa in Glass House playing zombie games. It isn't very often that I feel this much a part of the story but the way it is written makes me feel like I am just another lodger in Glass House.
I'm finding it very hard to pick a favourite out of these books so far because so much and different things happen in each one to make them stand out from the next. I will say though that this one would be at least near the top of the list due to how action packed it was. I really liked that there was a whole story going on here and not just something thrown in around the romance aspect. The romances are important in these books but not as much as the plot.
After 4 books, I'm still as hooked as I was to begin with so I know I'm going to be a fan the whole way through. Roll on book #5: Lord of Misrule.