Friday, 26 June 2009

Feast of Fools and Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine

Spoilers warning! Review contains spoilers for book 1-3 in the Morganville series. Read at your own risk.

Feast of Fools

"In the town of Morganville, vampires and humans live in relative peace but Claire Danvers has never been convinced - especially with the arrival of Mr Bishop, an ancient, old-school vampire who cares nothing about harmony. What he wants from the town's living and its dead is unthinkably sinister.

Bad to the bone, the ancient old-school vampire cares nothing about keeping the peace; staying at the top of the food chain is enough. What he wants from the town's living and dead is unthinkably sinister. It's only at a formal ball attended by vampires and their human dates that Claire realises Bishop's plan - and the elaborately evil trap he's set for the warm-blooded souls of Morganville"

Feast of Fools is the fourth in the Morganville Vampires series and picks up directly after the ending of Midnight Alley. Claire and crew have unexpected guests in the form of Claire's parents and some new vampires who are clearly very powerful and equally evil.

With new evil in town, who is well known, and feared, by most, you know that the teens are in trouble. Amelie must join forces with her nemesis Oliver to try and come against the new comer. And yet playing by vampire politics means she welcomes him to town with a feast, where all vampires bring human dates. A recipe for disaster if ever there was one, but in the mean time, life goes on. Class, spending time with the boyfriend and stopping fights between boyfriend and his bestfriend, studying with a vampire who is crazy and growing more so every day, you know, the usual.

The characters are all still learning a lot, even those who have spent their lives in Morganville, and you can see how some of the stuff going on around them is taking it's toll on them. But they keep on fighting, trying to find a way out of the mess alive. I think this is my favourite book in the series so far. The plot moved along quickly and had me hooked the whole time. There were some darker edges to this book and that helped it a lot I think, drew me deeper in to the world and I couldn't put it down.

The ending is another serious cliffhanger, as has been the case for just about every book so far, but it's not the worst one. Did leave me wanting a lot more though. It's interesting to see where loyalties lie when it comes down to it, or what certain big players are really after in the end. To a certain extent it's a little confusing and hard to see where the series is headed for come the end of it. But it's still a very enjoyable series and one I'd recommend.

Rating: 8/10

Lord of Misrule

"Morganville. Texas. Just south of normal. In the college town of Morganville, vampires and humans coexist in (relatively) bloodless harmony. Then comes Bishop, a master vampire who threatens to abolish all order, revive the forces of the evil dead, and let chaos rule. But Bishop isn't the only threat. Violent black clouds promise a storm of devastating proportions. As student Claire Danvers and her friends prepare to defend Morganville against the elements - both natural and unnatural - the unexpected happens: Morganville's vampires begin to vanish one by one. Discovering why leads Claire to one last choice: swear allegiance to Bishop...or die."

In a way, that blurb is very frustrating because it tells you the end before you start. And I think having read that, it does then take away some from the book and stop it holding the tension it could have. But hey, that's what the publishers put there to temp readers, can't really argue with them.

Things are much more dangerous in Morganville than they were before. Bishop has his followers and Amelie has hers. And Bishop's are getting violent and making no secret of their desire to really change things in Morganville. Starting with taking Amelie out. As she tries to solidify her position, the humans find themselves alone and trying to stay alive. Many humans have decided if the vampires are trying to kill each other, they should join the fight and destroy them all. And they've decided that vampire supporters, humans still working for the vampires, deserve their share of the pain too. So things are bad all around.

This book didn't catch me as much as the rest of the series, until the last few chapters, they were much more gripping and the tension levels were heightened considerably. The rest was just them getting there, and despite some good moments, I felt there were bits that could have been left out. There is a really sweet scene between Shane and Claire, which once more ends with him being the noble guy and saying no. I still find Myrnin's character fascinating, scary and funny and one of the best characters in the series. The return of Shane's father and Shane's confrontation with him was good and you really do have to feel for Shane, his life is far from easy.

The ending I felt, was very good. But it was this part alone that really propelled the story further. The rest was almost anti-climatic from the lead up in the previous book. Still, I'm very much looking forward to reading the next book, the ending of this has left a lot of new possibilities for it and I think things are going to get much more interesting.

Rating: 6/10

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