There was something comforting, in an overly strange way, about reading a vampire story over Halloween weekend. Rachel Cain’s Ghost Town, the latest in her Morganville Vampire Series, while not exclusively about vampires – fearless child prodigy Claire is our protagonist after all- most of the vampires who are in it are frightening and by no means muzzled. Particularly in Ghost Town when tensions are high with the changing nature of vampire/human relations, and even more so when Claire and Myrnin get the machine back up to keep everyone inside Morganville. As the external force field starts working internally, memories begin to be erased, and vampires are forgetting that they’re supposed to play nice now. When that extends all the way to the top with the Founder, Amelie, Claire’s fighting an uphill battle that she might not be able to win. With a whole town suffering from amnesia, species relations floundering, and the two biggest/baddest vamps in town squaring off, poor Claire is stuck in the middle and left to fix it all herself.
Ghost Town seemed both longer and more complete in and of itself than some of its earlier counterparts. When I first reviewed the series I mentioned how all the books seem like one massive story line- intricately woven and interconnected. Ghost Town is more of the same in that it picks up where the others left off, but it told a more complete story arc from start to finish. Kiss of Death the seventh, and the one immediately prior to Ghost Town, attempted to tell a non-related tale outside the city limits of Morganville, it seemed rushed, was difficult to follow, and honestly felt more like an out-take to the series than a vital part of it. Ghost Town got everything back on track and brought back the issues in Fade Out that were suspended in Kiss of Death.
The infamous living machine that used to comprise of Ada had been destroyed, and with it the town boundaries were lost, the portal network was broken, and the memory wipe for those leaving town was suspended. In the latest novel, Claire& Co. were back on track to get it up and running- even at fang-point and under cruel and unusual circumstances. What I enjoyed about this plot in particular was that it allowed us to delve further into secondary characters. We got a glimpse at the deeper-than-we-previously-knew- relationship between Myrnin and his assistant-vampire-turned-machine-lover Ada as well as the ever unsteady alliance between Amelie and OIiver. The widespread memory loss, making everyone think it was three years ago, gave a unique look at how much the town has changed since Claire arrived. Not only have vampire/human relations been altered, but the people themselves have grown and flourished. And frankly, witnessing Shane have to relive the death of his sister, mother, and turning of his father made a memory very much alive. As everyone else lost their memories, Claire watched everyone she loved slip away from her and it was a struggle for her to go on without them. For perhaps only the second time in the series, the reader felt the real possibility that Claire and her wonder-brain would fail.
My favorite part of this book, and the Morganville Vampire Series as a whole is its cohesion. Not once, in eight books, has Rachel Caine lost her characters. From book one to eight they are exactly the same. That’s not to say they’re static and don’t grow, because they do, in a evolutionary background type way instead of “Eureka! I’m a new person!” But their voices, beliefs, characteristics, values, etc. all remain true to the original characters. One of my biggest complaints in a series is when each book has the characters be completely different. Some are so bad I feel like I can say, “Well are you referring to Book I Bob, Book II Bob, or Book III Bob?” because they’re all intrinsically different. Some of the most popular series right now do this, and it makes me incredibly happy that the Morganville Vampire Series avoids this entirely.
Another perk for Rachel Caine? She publishes new books super quickly. The next book in the series, Bite Club comes out April 2011! So if you’ve read her series, make sure to tweet her (@rachelcaine) about this review and tell her how much you love her books!
If you haven’t read the rest of the series:
The Morganville Series in order:
Dead Girl’s Dance
Feast of Fools
Lord of Misrule
Kiss of Death
If you want to try-before-you-buy, go to Rachel Caine’s website to read chapter excerpts of all available books.
Comment below and tell me what you love the most about these books! If you haven’t read them what’s your favorite vampire series?