Review: Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Author: Rachel Caine
Genre: supernatural/paranormal, young-adult
Series: The Morganville Vampires #4
Pages: 242 (paperback version)
Published: June 2008
Source: bought
Rating: 3/5

In the fourth book so far (out of a guaranteed 13 [!!!] novel series), there's a bit of a mix-up to the well-tread paths these stories all seem to take: danger/uncertainty in Morganville, such trouble that only Claire and her rag-tag band of misfits can fix. In Feast of Fools an unforeseen and completely horrifying turn of events occurs: Claire's parents move to vampire-infested Morganville. Along with the unexpected arrival of Claire's controlling parents comes the appearance of Amelie's "father", Mr. Bishop, in town as well. Tensions are high between all the characters in such uncertain and trying times.  After all, Bishop isn't a civilized nor modern bloodsucker like previously seen in the small Texas town, but a complete horror from nightmares of the past. The tenuous truce Amelie and the humans have eked out in Morganville will feel the strain of his presence in their town. Mr. Bishop elevates the menace and danger in these novels from a 5 to an 11, and makes for an interesting, if repugnant, antagonist for Claire/Amelie.

I really liked and definitely appreciated the change up in plot. With all the novels so far set in one small town with a small population, the chances for surprise and ingenuity within these storeis are terribly few and far between. I started to get a feeling of deja vu or repetition in the initial three but happily I did not feel so here. Mixing up the familiar basic cast, along with the proscribed "rules" of Morganville, causes several new and interesting dynamics to appear. Claire and her friends are split up for most of the novel - a big change from the first three when Claire, Shane, Eve and Michael were all but glued together start to finish. Claire is on her own for the first time and her brains and determination are put to the test - and not in a science test for once. I do wish that the characters themselves could have been changed up a bit. I'm tired of the same old descriptors for these people: Eve with "goth", Shane with "slacker", etc. I wish they were more rounded out rather than simply labelled. They're a vibrant bunch with a genuine chemistry amongst the four of them (and between the couples of Eve/Michael and Shane/Claire individually) so it would be a nice change to see other sides to these established characters.

Previous threads from preceding novels are continually refreshed and moved along in this novel. Claire's research with the unstable and possibly disloyal Myrnin continue, at the risk of her health. Claire struggles both internally and externally with a myriad of problems: her parents survival, her relationship with Amelie, Shane, losing her virginity, Myrnin, the vampire's accelerating disease... the list is enormous. The continuity of hanging and ongoing plotlines is a credit to the author; very little is forgotten or unimportant. To her credit, Claire shoulders her heavy burden well and isn't afraid to rely on her friends to support her. Another aspect of this character I enjoy is that Claire doesn't believe herself infallible nor the sole person able to save the day. I will say the plot of this novel left me a bit cold (especially after I loved the reveals and mysteries uncovered in the previous novel Midnight Alley) at the beginning but eventually I was irretrievably sucked into the world of Morganville once more. It's just as action-packed once the ball gets rolling, and the pacing is pitch-perfect for a breakneck race to save lives. All in all, a simple, fun vampire novel with perhaps more bite than the first three.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't imagine a 13 book story arch. Glad to hear the addition of a new character spiced things up. :)


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