Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine (The Morganville Vampires #13)

Title: Bitter Blood (The Morganville Vampires #13)
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: Allison & Busby, 2012

I’m always a little wary of picking up a book so far into a series. From what I gathered once I was done with Bitter Blood was that I’d missed quite a bit of action, since I’d only read up to book number two before this.

To say that author Rachel Caine is prolific would be a wee bit of an understatement, but she handles herself well in this instalment of the saga of the Morganville vampires, giving readers just enough back story to fill in the blanks without going overboard on the exposition.

We once again join our group of friends, who seem to have a habit of making themselves central to all of the small town of Morganville’s troubles. Michael and Eve are married – a big source of contention for the locals, who frown on this union between vampire and human; and Claire and Shane are in a steady relationship. Miranda is the added extra – now a ghost trapped within Glass House’s protection.

One would think that after having faced the terrible conflict in previous instalments of this series, that the vampires and humans would have figured out how to live together. Not so. The vampires are laying down draconian pass-laws that aren’t in the humans’ favour, and the humans are retaliating by taking up arms. The inhabitants of Glass House are, predictably, caught in the crossfire, with Michael and Eve’s unnatural vampire/human marriage drawing unwanted and rather unpleasant attention. Not only that, but a ghost-hunting TV show has come to town, and their meddling at a time like this is exactly what Morganville doesn’t need.

Caine does a good job of keeping all the story arcs chugging along nicely. Old favourites we love to hate – like Oliver – get plenty of opportunities to strut their stuff, counterpointed by delightfully wacky Myrnin. Morganville, as a setting populated by a large, varied cast, has had the opportunities to grow, and it’s easy to see where the attraction lies. Claire might still thoughtlessly plunge into danger, but she’s a lot more capable now than the timid, mousy girl we met in book number 1. If you’re looking for an action-packed vampire-stomping romp, then this one will keep you out of mischief.

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