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Kiss of Death - Rachel Caine
Continuing on with the 'Morganville Vampire' series, I present you with the eighth book in the series; 'Kiss of death'. I had a short break from writing reviews of this series, though I decided to continue on with the reviews in the hope that I can give prospective readers a good opinion of the full set before deciding to purchase.
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.
To date there are eleven books out with a twelfth book due out in November of this year (2011). The first previous books in the series are;
* Glass Houses
* The Dead Girls Dance
* Midnight Alley
* Feast of Fools
* Lord of Misrule
* Carpe Corpus
* Fade Out
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.
KILLED OVER ICE CREAM
"My dad used to say that life's a journey, but somebody screwed up and lost the map."
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. After the meanest vampire around vanishes from the town, there is a slight sense of normality that seeps back in, which enables Claire and her friends to grab on to some sort of teenage life other than fighting against the constant stream of vampires who live in Morganville. On top of their 'to-do' list, they all want to go on a road trip to see Michael's music career take off, though it is debatable whether they will be allowed to leave, until a surprising offer lands in their hands, though a road trip alone is still out of the question.
As Claire and her friends set off on their trip, they are warned that they must return otherwise their friends and family will be at greater risk, though this is the leats of their problems as they venture out into the 'real world' to find out that Morganville is not the only base for vampire breeds, and in the real world, there are no rules...
Kiss of Death, like the previous book, has a greater gap in between books, taking on the feel of the last book which stood out from the rest of the set. After reading the last book, I was unsure as to whether I wanted to continue or not. Up until book six, I had loved reading these books, and surprisingly became very addicted, though book six was almost a full closure to the set leaving book seven struggling somewhat. This book, from the beginning, continued the 'odd' feel with its completely different style and flow to the beginning books which meant that getting into the book was slow going. Although the different style continued, it almost took on a third style and almost became a stand-alone book (though I would not recommend reading it as a stand-alone). As the book went on, I became more accustomed to this newer style, and felt as though hints of the first books were seeping back into the story. Unlike the last book, this story found its footing a lot quicker and branched out further into the 'real world' which gave the whole set a much more well rounded feel to it.
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. The previous book lacked a lot of the excitement found in most of these books, though 'Kiss of Death' has shown that it is capable of grabbing this back again.
As well as the main story line of this particular book, the author has brought back the great underlying stories involving the main characters as well as the smaller characters. This has created a much fuller story once again with something going on on nearly every single page. This is also one of the reasons I would not recommend reading this before reading the whole set in order, even if it does read almost as a stand-alone book. Apart from the slow start, the story is exciting and fast moving which keeps you guessing most of the way through. I would not say that it has got all the suspense and action back completely yet, though it is certainly a good sign of what may be to come. After reading the last book, I was almost ready to give up on the series, though I am now glad that I persisted.
The characters are much more focused in this book, possibly due to the fact that there are limited characters who take part in the main bulk of the story. Although we do not learn anything specifically new about the main ones, we do get more of a feel about certain slightly lesser characters which, in my opinion, is just as good and aids in the book becoming more well rounded.
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. There is still some choice language in this book, though unlike the previous books, there is a minimal amount and the sexual scenes and innuendo's have been dulled down in this book, though are still apparent. These two aspects are well written, though, and not 'in-your-face' in any means. There are also strong 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 previous book, I had felt that the set had gone from strength to strength, though the last book really fell out of line and was quite disappointing. If it wasn't for the end of that book, I do not know whether I would have continued. As the set has been very addictive, it would have been a shame not to finish the whole story, so I did continue and have found that this book had started to climb back up to the level of the first six books. It is not quite at the same level yet, with a little way to go before it reaches the same heights, though I am confident that it is on its way once again.
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.
Thankfully, the grammar has got a lot better in the past two books, which is strange as the story has lacked certain strengths. Perhaps the author started to concentrate on her writing more than the storyline. I wonder whether the next book will actually get both of these right?! Here's hoping!
So what makes this book any different to other vampire novels?
Thankfully, these set of books have grown far since the first page of the first book. At first, they seemed rather like any other novel of this kind, though with all the different underlying stories going on, it really makes these different. The characters are wonderful and the ideas are fantastic. This particular book 0is not as vast as the others, and unfortunately does have the sense of being like other novels I have read, though with the link to the other stories in the set, I am able to set these apart and enjoy them for what they are.
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 endings to most of the books in this set have been full of growing anticipation and excitement. Unfortunately, the ending to this book is not as such. There are some wonderful moments and the tension grew greatly and at perfect pace, though once it reached the end, it all dissipated which left me feeling quite lost and disappointed.
Due to my love of this set (and the fact I have already bought all the books in the series) I will continue on in the hope that the next book takes on the feel of the first six.
The story was 348 pages long, which seems average for these set of books, and so it did not take me long to read it. There is also a small track list at the end which is interesting though not really needed.
Kiss of Death was a step up from the previous book in the series, though it still did not reach the heights of the past books in the set. It looks as though the author is once again finding her footing, though the question remains as to whether she should have quit whilst she was ahead on the sixth book. Only time will tell with the books that follow this one.
I feel that even with its flaws, the book is still addictive and hypnotic in many senses and would recommend continuing with this series, despite the flaws of this and the previous book. I myself am looking forward to seeing where this whole set will end, even with the story taking a fall.
Kiss of Death 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 between £0.01p and £4.19 not including postage and packaging. It is also available on the Kindle for £3.98.
After living in Morganville for some time one thing is soon apparent, the likelihood Claire and her fellow house mates/best friends will ever leave is becoming slimmer by the day.
The unfortunate thing is that when you live in a town run by vampires they are a little touchy with the idea that you may leave town then tell everyone they really exist, so the borders are heavily controlled, and leaving without prior permission by vampire elder Amelie means certain death, and these vampires have a lot of time on their hands to compete such missions.
Though after Claire and her housemates Eve, Shane and vampire landlord Michael, inadvertently got themselves caught in the middle of a vampire war, and ended up helping Amelia's "team" they have been given passes to Dallas for a long weekend, enough time for Michael to do the one thing he had always aspired to do in life (and now his death!), become a recording artist.
When they find that their common enemy vampire Oliver has been assigned as their escort on the trip things couldn't seem to get any worse, that is until they realise there trip is being hijacked for vampire business, the weekend could literally start to "suck"!
After reading the previous book (Fade out) and finding the sense of impending doom being left out, I was worried that feeling would be missing from this book too, though was grateful to find that I was soon waiting for the monsters to attack, and felt on edge throughout the second half of the book!
This book feels different (at the start anyway), with the main characters (only teenagers in age), looking forward to the only normal thing that has happened to them in the entire series of books so far, and acting just as teenagers should, well all of them except Michael, he is dead after all!
I loved how they reacted to people outside of Morganville, as there they are big fish in a small pond, but outside of there they are no-bodies, and it takes a good time and a near beating from some local red necks to remind them of that fact.
But with this series of books trouble is always a few seconds behind them, and it soon escalates into a war zone, with the ending never quite being what you expected.
This was another fantastic offering from Rachel Caine, with the atmosphere (thankfully)being reinstated, it was faced paced, fun and full of neck sucking, this is chick lit for the inner (and outer) goth, recommended!
Price wise this has a RRP of £6.99, but are currently being sold for "3 for £5.00" in "the works".
Thanks for reading x
Kiss of Death is the 8th book in the Rachel Caine Morganville vampire story collection. This book has a rrp of £6.99 but I got mine from the works on a 3 for £5 offer along with the some of the others from the series.
The Morganiville Vampire books follow a young girl Claire Danvers who has moved to the town of Morganville to find that it is a town where vampires and humans live together and the humans know that the vampire exists. The humans have to donate blood to the vampires in order to stay alive. Claire originally moves to the town in order to go to college but gets bullied on campus and looks for somewhere to live. Claire ends up living at the Glass house with 3 other people. Micheal whos house it is, Eve a goth girl and Shane who she ends up falling in love with.
Each book so far has been based within Morganville each has featured the 4 friends fighting to stay alive in a town where vampires rule. The characters have all got there own hidden secrets I don't want to ruin the plot for you by saying what they are but the do make for a interesting read. Each book has you gripped and leaves you wanting more and each carrys on from where the previous book left off.
This particular book sees the 4 friends leave Morganville for the first time together and go on a road trip with Oliver one of the elder vampires. The purpose of the trip is for Micheal to launch his music carrier but as usual things are never as simple as just going to the recording studio. The friends end up stumbling across another town of vampires and these ones are not a sane as the Morganville vampires and so the drama unfolds.
This book is 348 pages long and is an easy read it is action packed and entertaining and I read it within a week it was easy with this book to put it down and come back to it with some of the other ones I have not been able to leave it and have often been tired the next day from reading it through the night. I don't think it is a bad thing I could put it down and I actually quite enjoyed the fact I could return to it each night to find out what is going to happen next. This book is classed as a junior book but I am 26 and have really enjoyed the series I am now looking forward to the release of Ghost Town the next one in the series.
I would recommend Morganville vampire books to any vampire fans out there they are truely an entertaining read.
Kiss of Death is the 8th 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 over the whole town, only to be eventually thrown from power. Eve's new friend Kim decided that it would be a good idea to film the vampires and turn Morganville into a reality show but things didn't work out very well for her.
Kiss of Death
Morganville has become extremely quiet compared to how crazy it has been lately. With no immediate danger showing, Claire, Shane, Eve and Michael are trying to live normal lives and get on with the things that they love. For Michael, that is pursuing his music. After being made into a vampire, Michael is finally able to leave the house and play some gigs around town, which result in some attention from a big record label.
The whole group get permission from Amelie to leave town for a few days to go to Dallas for Michael to meet with the record label. There is one small condition though... Oliver must go along as well as their chaperone. As the group leave Morganville, they realise that this road trip isn't going to be anywhere near as fun as they had imagined. Even being out of Morganville cant keep Claire and her friends out of trouble and what's outside could be much worse then the vampires inside Morganville.
What I thought
One of the best things about this book was that it was mostly set outside of Morganville. Claire, Shane, Eve and Michael have been stuck there for 7 books now, dealing with whatever is thrown their way so it was about time that they got to go somewhere else. I wish they could have had a little bit more fun while they were away. When the group finally make it to Dallas, it is very short lived and we don't get to learn much of what they get up to. I really wanted to read about Claire having some major fun and letting loose but as the ending was so rushed, I didn't get this. Being in Dallas wasn't really a big part of this story but it would have made a nice difference compared to the other books.
Once the group get on the road, it doesn't take long for the action to kick in. For a series as a whole, The Morganville Vampires is one of the most exciting that I have ever read and Kiss of Death keeps with tradition. Barely out of Morganville, Eve and her loud mouth gets everyone into trouble and it doesn't stop there. In fact, it gets a lot worse but much more exciting. Although parts of the plot had a Resident Evil film thing going on for me, it didn't take away any of the enjoyment. There was so much going on that I didn't know if everyone was going to make it out alive this time.
Claire really comes into her own in this book. Yes, I have learned that she is strong and determined as well as a little unsure sometimes but now, she doesn't seem to have any second thoughts about what she is doing. When Claire knows that she is right, she refuses to listen to anyone else and goes ahead with her own plan anyway. I loved this about Claire as more often than not, she is right about what's happening so shouldn't have to reason with others on what to do.
Claire and Shane's relationship also takes a step forward in Kiss of Death while Michael and Eve don't seem to be as close as they used to be. Both couples have their problems, and often, but it was nice to see Claire and Shane deal with them in a more mature way. It was nice to see that Shane seems to be in this for the long run, no matter what happens and what dangerous situations that they get into. Eve annoyed me a little bit though which isn't normally how I feel about her. She came across as quite selfish this time around, wanting to keep Michael all to herself which I thought was very unfair to him and the career that he has always wanted. It's obvious that Michael loves her a lot but doesn't really know how to deal with her sometimes.
While Kiss of Death wasn't my favourite in the series, it does have a lot of good going for it. Exciting story, well developed characters and their own stories as well as a lot of mystery. There were quite a few questions left unanswered and I'm dying to find out what happens next but Ghost Town isn't being released until 1st November.