Monday, April 29, 2013
Bite Club by Rachel Caine
I think it's fair to say that I thought Ghost Town (the 9th Morganville Vampires book) was becoming a little formulaic. This is probably a natural consequence of writing a YA multi book series set in and around the same small Texas town. Even the titles tend to follow a pattern. They're mostly about death or blood. Bite Club is probably the most openly groanable play on words that they've done, though.
As the title may indicate the story is largely about an underground online viewable fighting ring that pits vampires up against steroided human opponents. Unsurprisingly it is Shane Collins from the little gang that readers follow who winds up in the middle of all this.
The story is pretty complicated for a Morganville. As Claire fights to keep her boyfriend out of the ring, and possibly getting killed she uncovers all sorts of things, including bad guy Bishop and another former villainess in the form of Kim, who at one stage nearly upset the apple cart by trying to turn Morganville into a reality show.
Bite Club is full of revelations, both big and small. The reintroduction of Bishop and Kim are two of the big ones. Another is Michael, Eve and Shane finding out that Myrnin is using Frank Collins brain to control the computer that runs Morganville and of course that Claire knew this, yet chose to keep it from her friends. Yet another is when Eve drops the bombshell that she and Michael are engaged to be married. This particular storyline will have ramifications moving forward and is viewed badly by both sides of society in Morganville. The humans can't understand why anyone would marry someone who is effectively dead and feeds on human blood. The vampires on the other hand don't like the idea of one of their own marrying someone who is considered by them as cattle and food and clearly inferior.
There are some smaller ones. Apparently Eve is a gun fencer. That was fun finding that out. Claire gets offered a position by MIT. This I found interesting and I'm not really sure why the author did it. Any long time reader (if you're 10 books in you're pretty invested) knows that Claire won't accept the position, even if Amelie does let her go, she's not going to let Shane, Eve and Michael leave and Claire won't go if they don't, especially Shane. So she keeps this poor MIT recruiter hanging on for most of the book, yet we as readers know full well she's going to knock it back. It just seemed to be an unnecessary side plot.
One interesting thing Rachel Caine tried in this was the altering of perspective. Generally the books are told from Claire's point of view in third person. This one had sections labelled Shane where we got his point of view in first person. I think next to Myrnin, Shane is probably the character that Rachel Caine most enjoys writing, so this made sense. It was necessary as Shane spends a lot of time away from the others and often in his own head, so we needed that. It was just how it was done. I found it a little clumsy and at times jarring. It broke up the story's usual smooth flow.
The teenage seeress Miranda also reappeared. I really like her and hope she comes back. She's rather painful to read, because she knows what is going to happen and feels that she needs to do this, because the consequences may be worse. I almost felt like crying when she let Monica's psychotic violent friend Gina break her nose, because to not do so would have meant Claire died at Gina's hands. To make things a little better Gina did get in a serious car accident soon after, which she could have avoided if she hadn't been hell bent on hurting Miranda. I feel so sorry for Miranda, she seems like a nice kid, but has been dealt a wretched hand by life and cursed at the same time. Despite that I hope she comes back, because she's compelling to read about and I don't think her story is done by any means.
I have to say I loved Myrnin in this. His driving or lack of ability is wonderful to read about. As was the fact that despite him having a mobile phone and knowing how to text he still feels the need to pass notes wrapped around rocks through the portals to let Claire know what is going on.
This one also ended a major story arc and leaves the way clear to start a new one as well as deal with the aftermath of some of the things that happened in Bite Club.