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Ghost Town – Rachel Caine
I debated whether to continue the reviews on this large set of books, though after some consideration I felt that in order to give prospective readers a full, well rounded view of the set then I needed to present the whole picture, and this meant finishing the reviews to the most up-to-date book out. There is another book due out very soon, though as of yet there are only another couple of books in this set. I now present you with the ninth book in ‘The Morganville Vampire’ series; ‘Ghost Town’. Rachel Caine is the well known author of ‘The Weather Warden’ series (to which I am yet to read). There is no need to read ‘The Weather Warden’ series before going on to this set of books as there is no link, though I would highly recommend reading this set right from the very beginning otherwise there will be a lot in which you would fail to understand. It is also a good idea to read from the beginning as the story, characters and whole excitement and anticipation grows from beginning to end.
The previous books in the series are;
• Glass Houses • The Dead Girls Dance • Midnight Alley • Feast of Fools • Lord of Misrule • Carpe Corpus • Fade Out * Kiss of Death
You are able to find the whole set titles and synopses on Rachel Caine’s website. http://www.rachelcaine.com
For previous reviews on this series, please take a look at my most recent reviews. These will hopefully give you a complete idea of whether this set is for you or not.
**************************************** ARE YOU ARMED? ****************************************
“Even in an apocalypse like this, surely running out of Coke qualified as a disaster.”
Claire Danvers moved unwittingly to the small college town of Morganville a number of months before, and her life has never been the same since.
Without wanting to give anything away, I do not want to outline the story so far in any detail, though to give you an idea of how much has passed I feel some background is necessary. If you would like to read a little bit more of the past books and background, please feel free to visit my recent book reviews.
Claire Danvers is a year ahead of her peers and her parents felt that she was too young to attend her preferred college many miles away, so she enrolled in the college in the small town of Morganville, without knowing exactly what the town was built for. Most of the students go through a couple of years and transfer out without ever understanding the world outside of the campus, though after being thrown down the stairs by the college bully and her friends, Claire moved in with three slightly older people and it was then that she fell into the scary world of Morganville, and now she just can not leave. After the meanest vampire around vanishes from the town, there is a slight sense of normality that seeps back in, which enables Claire and her friends to grab on to some sort of teenage life other than fighting against the constant stream of vampires who live in Morganville. Surprisingly, they had all been allowed to go on a road trip to feel somewhat ‘normal’ which was a huge step for some of them as they, unlike Claire, had never left the town of Morganville before, though there was still no escaping the hold the town and the inhabitants had on them.
Pictures of Morganville Vampires: Ghost Town - Rachel Caine
Alternate book cover
Now back home, Claire is given a choice. Allow her friends to endure a punishment, or take it upon herself, and in the same old way Claire has always tried to protect her friends, Claire takes on her punishment alone; to fix the towns unusual security system or else! Claire is ordered to work with the most eccentric vampire day and night without any rest, food or breaks. It seems like an impossible task, and Claire is worked past the point of exhaustion, and even when the problems seem fixed, a whole new set of tribulations bring unexpected consequences.
Soon, the inhabitants of Morganville start to lose their memories, and this strange occurrence is not just affecting the human population, causing a full-on terror epidemic. One by one, everyone starts forgetting who they are and it is down to Claire (again!) to figure out a way to pull the plug on her ‘experiment’ before she forgets how.
To be perfectly honest, if I had simply read the synopsis of the first book without a friends recommendation then I do not think that I would have started this set of books as the synopsis of each of them is something to be desired, and certainly reads as though it should be read by younger teenagers only, though right from the word go (and more so from book two onwards), this set of books have been compelling and a great read, no matter what your age!
After the last two books, I was unsure of where exactly this book would go. It had seemed that, around book six, the story had come to a great closure, though the author still continued to bring out new books in quick succession, which may have been part of the problem. Book seven seemed to have lost its way completely and it had almost stopped me wanting to continue on. I am glad I pushed past this abnormality in the series as the last book began to pick back up slowly, and it seems that it is finally back on track in this ninth book. The setting, characters, style and storylines in this book seem to have once again found their footing and the whole feel to the book has gone back to normal. Although there are still some moments in this book which I find are stretched to a point where I do wonder if the books should have ceased already, these moments are few and far between.
‘Ghost Town’ has a short gap from the ending of the last book to the beginning of this book, and so it is worth re-reading at least part of the previous book before going on to this one to remind you of exactly how it ended. Once the book got into the story, though, memories do jump back as to where you are in the story. It is almost as though the last two books were stand alone books and this book has continued from three books back, though I do not recommend missing the last books as there are still moments in the storyline in which you will need to know occurrences in the previous books to have a full understanding. As well as the storyline, the characters backgrounds have been enhanced slightly so do push past the slight downfall of the last books before continuing onto this one.
One strong aspect of this book is the greater understanding of character background. Throughout the series, we have learnt in dribbles the backgrounds of each character, though we have not been presented with a full picture of many of them until this book. It is almost as though the character backgrounds have been building up to this moment and there is some really interesting historical moments for the older, colder blooded inhabitants of the town. Characters who I may not have liked before have become more well rounded in this book and I have found myself actually starting to like. This has also helped with the underlying story involving many of the characters which has been touched upon before though until now, has not been overly clear and so has come across a little frustrating in the past. Now, it is clear just why certain characters act the way they do and so forth.
The main story is not perhaps as strong as the first six books, though as mentioned above, it has certainly taken a step back in the right direction. There are many moments which are very predictable, though the excitement and anticipation is high enough to allow these predictable moments to swim by without much of a thought. It has a somewhat slow start to the book, though it is not long before the action floods nearly every single page and the fast pace feeling of the previous books comes back. It is almost as though the author has grown since her very first book as before, the action was so high that you were left almost breathless, not being able to process everything that was happening before something else was thrust into the story. Here, the action is at full flow though there is a much more even tone to it all, allowing time to process and digest everything.
Although this book is primarily about vampires, I feel that I must mention that there are quite a few topical scenes and conversations throughout which relate very easily to our own human world, and in this book, like the last couple, some of these issues lean towards a more adult perspective. There is still some choice language in this book, though unlike the previous books, there is a minimal amount and the sexual scenes and innuendos have been dulled down in this book, though are still apparent. These two aspects are well written, though, and not ‘in-your-face’ in any means. There are also strong subjects of abuse, torture and murder both in the fantasy setting as well as via the human characters. These are, once again, well written and thought out though also very believable and some are very strong scenes.
This story is largely about vampires, and if this genre does not appeal to you, then I doubt that you would be interested, though there are also many other aspects within the pages such as different kinds of love and friendship, family issues, power and life in general.
Thankfully, another plus point to this book is the grammar. The author has had a serious problem with grammatical errors in previous books, though it has been getting gradually better. This book, although there are a few small errors, is almost perfect in its presentation. Perhaps the author has got herself a better proof reader? Here is hoping that he or she stays as I have found the grammar very off-putting gin the past!
So what makes this book any different to other vampire novels?
There are so many novels about vampires these days and it is difficult to get a fresh take on this fantasy genre. I have read a number of books which all feel similar and therefore quite boring in a sense. Thankfully, these set of books have grown out of the typical setting of vampires and has taken on a whole new aspect of the age-old story. It is extremely modern and has some wonderful characters which really bring a whole new level to the books. The setting is almost unique and the underlying stories are as addictive as the main storyline.
I found that this book has a slightly unusual feel to the storyline, though this again is what makes these set of books different to other books of this genre. If you have had your share of vampire novels and do not think you could possibly pick up another one, then do think again as these set of books do bring something new and exciting to the whole genre.
One thing which I find very important in a book is the ending. A story can be written perfectly, though if the ending is wrong, then it gives me a really terrible feel to the whole book, almost as though I feel my time was wasted reading it, even if I did enjoy the rest of the story.
So how does the ending of this book compare?
The endings to most of the books in this set have been full of growing anticipation and excitement. The past book bought the excitement back to the endings, though this ending was not perhaps as exhilarating. It was a well rounded ending, leaving some room for the opening of the next book, though it was quite predictable and had a slow feel to it which was unexpected. There was a lot of action and excitement leading up to the ending, and then there was almost an anti-climax. There was a small twist, though, which I will say no more about apart from the fact that it did save the ending from being totally drab and predictable.
The story was 432 pages long, which is a little longer than the others though perhaps this helps the action spread out more evenly. There is also a small additional short story at the every end which takes place between Fade Out and Kiss of Death. This is an interesting read though nothing to shout out about in my opinion.
************************ FINAL WORDS ************************
Ghost Town has certainly found its footing once again, and although there are a few dull areas, these areas a minimal. The story was entertaining and full of excitement and the added information about certain characters really helped this book shine. I would not say that this is the best book of the series, though it is certainly one of the top in my opinion.
I feel that even with its flaws, the book is still addictive and hypnotic in many senses and would recommend continuing with this series, despite the flaws of this and the previous book. I myself am looking forward to seeing where this whole set will end, even with the story taking a fall.
Ghost Town is, in the main, a horror fantasy book which is an international best seller. It is listed as a young adult read, though I personally found it very compelling a read and I have long since left my teen years!
The RRP on this book is £6.99 which is an average and very reasonable price for such a great book, though as with many books these days (especially those which have been out a while!) there are many ways of getting your hands on a book for much less. If you have ‘The Works’ shop near you, each book of the series (except the second one as they seem to always be out) is priced at an amazing £1.99, and to place the cherry on the top, they have the deal of three for £5 which is really great, especially as there are so many books in this series. Amazon have this book there at the moment from between £0.01p and £4.19 not including postage and packaging. It is also available on the Kindle for £3.98.