Title: Lord of Misrule
Author: Rachel Caine
Genre: supernatural/paranormal fiction, young-adult
Series: The Morganville Vampires #5
Pages: 352 (paperback edition)
This far into the series, it's kind of like a Sookie Stackhouse Situation - I'm going to trademark that! - with these books: in that we all know, pretty generally, what is going to happen in the book: Claire and her friends will face some impossible danger, Claire will uncover new and unsettling revelations about Morganville/her friends/the vampires/etc., and in the end, everything will work out with some teenage humor and group can-do. This might sound snide but it's really not
completely: I truly enjoy these novels. I just enjoy them for what they are: brain candy. Just something fun and easy to read when looking for entertainment and hot broody teenage males (heellllooooo Shane!) This is a series that's long-running but hardly takes a lot of time to read through.
While this fifth novel actually does manage to shakeup the Morganville formula a bit and is rather less predictable (thank you, Mr. Bishop/feudal warfare tactics of vampires), I found it to be a lot of flash and little action. This is certainly more of a plot-driven episode in the lives of our heroes than before. There is a frenetic, almost frenzied even, pace and feel to the novel - appropriate since technically Morganville is in the throes of a civil war during these events. More information about the city and vamps themselves are rolled out, such as Amelie's relative age (she causally mentions being around for the Great Fire - aka Rome in 64 AD!), and details about the alluring but dangerous vampire genius Myrnin. Furthermore, Myrnin, Sam, Michael and Amelie continue to be the only humane vampires in the town, especially with a rather rabid antagonist named Ysandre to pick up any slack that the villainous Mr. Bishop missed.
I did enjoy the new dynamic of splitting up the Fearsome Foursome for substantial amounts of time and through several epic events. I enjoy the group together, but it was time for a fresh outlook and perspective on the town/novel. I also appreciated the rare role reversal for Claire and Shane's relationship. Instead of the usual "he-man" Shane worrying about Claire - she got to be the one being overprotective and embarrassing. I also wish Shane was described as more than just a "slacker" for every novel. The kid's been around for five novels, surely the author hasn't labelled with one moniker and ignored the character for any other personality? I like Shane - he's a sexy, broody.. slacker. . . and I just feel there's potential being wasted. I have a love-hate relationship with these books for such exact reasons: lots of potential, lots of wasted opportunities. I will, however, give The Morganville Vampires series credit where it is due, and say that the vampire disease plotline continues to be the most interesting and original premise the series has to offer. Through several novels and disparate threads, Caine has created her own uniquely compelling and oddly interesting spin to the vampire lore in novels.