Sunday, May 19, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: FALL OF NIGHT (The Morganville Vampires, #14)

UK Cover & US Cover

FALL OF NIGHT (The Morganville Vampires, #14)
BY: Rachel Caine

PUBLISHED: May 7, 2013 by New American Library
GENRES: YA • NA • Vampires • Supernatural • Mystery • Thriller • Action • Romance • Paranormal

 Technically 4.3 rounded to 4

Thanks to its unique combination of human and vampire residents, Morganville, Texas, is a small college town with big-time problems. When student Claire Danvers gets the chance to experience life on the outside, she takes it. But Morganville isn’t the only town with vampire trouble... 

Claire never thought she’d leave Morganville, but when she gets accepted into the graduate program at MIT, she can’t pass up the opportunity. Saying good-bye to her friends is bittersweet, especially since things are still raw and unsettled between Claire and her boyfriend, Shane.  

Her new life at MIT is scary and exciting, but Morganville is never really far from Claire’s mind. Enrolled in a special advanced study program with Professor Irene Anderson, a former Morganville native, Claire is able to work on her machine, which is designed to cancel the mental abilities of vampires.  

But when she begins testing her machine on live subjects, things quickly spiral out of control, and Claire starts to wonder whether leaving Morganville was the last mistake she’ll ever make...
First, I must say that it is hard for me to believe that this series is winding down. (Moment of silence, please.)

This fourteenth installment had a distinct change of pace from the rest of the books. I did wish it went a little further with the changes, but overall it was excellent. Shane was his cocky self as always when he got hurt. But this time it really unnerved me. He just brushed it off like it was no big deal.

I really felt bad for him. And for Claire. They just NEVER got a break. Sigh. (Taking a moment to pray, send an offering to Caine, on knees begging for a HEA.) You think they would finally have a break... and nope. Rug was pulled out from under and down they went. I bet they felt like they just couldn't win. 

Claire was really hoping to get a breather and finally experience college life. A normal life. This was where I wish the book had gone a little further. As in actually let her go out. Do some REAL flirting. Hit a party. From the moment she got there it never really changed. Yes... I know that was probably the point... but it would have been more shocking, more emotional to have "your fingers on it" and then snap! It's gone. It almost seemed like an exercise in comparisons. "Advance study" with Myrnin vs. Professor Irene. Rooming at the Glass House vs. Elizabeth. Bad guy vs. bad guy. "How-are-we-not-going-to-get-killed-this-time" scenario vs "How-are-we-all-not-dying-while-getting-out-of-this" situation. However, I felt the main focus was lead somewhat off course but the subplots. I can't give it away (this is a spoiler free zone) but I felt Claire's struggles to integrate into the "real" world and Shane's personal development and struggle should have been given more time to ferment and age. 

Don't get me wrong. I loved the book! I just wished we could have gone way off the path instead of one foot off. Does that make sense to you? Reading other people's reviews it seemed I was alone in this idea. Most other readers never wanted her to leave. Guess I'm the lone wolf on this one. (Sorry, I digress.) 

Caine absolutely infested this novel with nasty villains. Some were obvious. Some were surprising. All were entertaining. By the second chapter you knew everything was getting blown six ways from Sunday. As always, Caine enveloped her readers in lush emotion, explicit details and terrorizing situations. This novel was jam packed with scenes of panic, terror and lurking in the dark to hunt down the scary bad men. I recommend keeping the lights on while reading this one.

What was so interesting was how Claire chose to handle her new life, her family and friends, the new work, the tension with Shane and the new urgent problems she encountered. It was harsh, gritty and somewhat brutal but completely organic. (For some reason I imagined the scene with Ursula and her "take that" attitude about choices we make in life. Just seemed like life was dishing out so much on Claire.)

Claire had made some tough decisions. To leave everyone and everything in order to try and find herself and clear her head. I think everyone at some point has wished they could do the same but it showed just how much she had grown that she actually followed through. It was testimony to Caine's character developement ability. Caine has raised the bar on developing an ensemble cast. It would have been so easy to let one fall through the cracks, but she kept a firm grip on every character. As Darth Vadar would say, "Impressive. Most impressive."

There were a host of new characters introduced to add to the already large cast. I fell in love with Jesse. She was feisty and intriguing. Later in the book that interest rapidly increased. I felt Elizabeth was the weak link for the newcomers. Caine put any fears to rest that we wouldn't get our fill of our favorites. Shane and his "full-speed-ahead" attitude. Michael was still "Captain America" and Oliver was still a butt head. My personal choice was Eve. She was still a brute. Actually, she reminded me of Terk, with the "best friend, coming through" attitude. Married life hadn't seemed to affect her, so I am interested to see how that develops in the last book. (Sniff. Sniff.) 

What really pleased me with this latest installment was the location. Yes! We got out of Morganville for a while. It was a breath of fresh air to the series. Yes.. I KNOW it is called the MORGANVILLE vampire series... but still. A change in scenery is always a plus. Again, I  seem to be one of the few who liked this idea. I loved seeing her away from Shane and he from her. It felt somewhat masochistic, but it was good to see Claire try to make them less codependent. Even more, that she put the brakes on things to work out the trust and forgiveness issues. (Angels singing from the heavens.) What a concept. A REAL relationship. What's more.. it addressed issues and real problems, not the make up kissing sessions. So many books gloss over what everyday people have to go through. Caine was so authentic and thorough in every detail... including the relationships. (Giving Caine a HUGE hug.) 

The ending was EPIC. It was the mother of all cliffhangers. My husband thought I was having an aneurysm as I frantically looked for more pages at the back of the book. Maybe the repetitive "there HAS to be more... that CAN'T be the end" mumbling to myself scared him. Just a little. OK. More than a little. But really.. how could she do that to me?  Let's just say it hit the fan BIG TIME and I am not sure how to contain myself to wait for the last book. It will be bittersweet to read. 

Rachel Caine, you have given us a tremendous, magnificent, original thrill ride. I am sure you will top off your brilliant series with the best book yet. Because each book you write gets better and better. And we love you for it. 


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