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Monday, 3 August 2015

Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires, #5) - Book Review

4/5 Stars

Morganville, Texas.

Just south of normal.

'Welcome to the revolution.'

6394410

Edition: Paperback
Pages: 315
Chapters: 14 (Plus an introduction.)
Publisher: Allison & Busby

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Amazon
                      Author's Website

Review

It struck me during this novel, as it has done during several of my reading expeditions, that, I would royally, and unequivocally, be dead. 

If I was ever put into any of the situations the characters I've read of over the years get put into, anyway.

Lord of Misrule is full to the brim with happenings, and as Claire aptly surmises during the course of the story: 'Welcome to the revolution.'

But this entry's content is a gift and curse. When good things are pulled off, they're great, but when they fail, there's a noticeable drop in flow and cohesion. Thankfully, it's not enough to derail what a wonderful pick-up this is from Feast of Fools. And the characters are all impeccably handled. Overall, Caine has created a wonderfully vast and hooking series that shows no definitive signs of wear.

SPOILER WARNING

Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)

Morganville is at war.
Vampires face off against vampires.
Humans face off against humans.
Everything has descended into chaos.
And, naturally, Claire and the gang are at the centre, fighting for peace for all.
Making them enemies to everyone...

Plot - 4.5/5 Stars

The beginning of Lord of Misrule is, in a word, chaos. Claire, Eve, Michael, Shane and a whole wealth of characters are at war with Amelie's father, who has a mysterious agenda that grows away from a simple takeover. The anticipation and suspense are wonderful, but the first seventy pages or so are very disjointed. I find that the confusion stems mostly in times where there's an abundance of action, at the start anyway. A few times I felt like I'd missed a few sentences; things jump from one place to another, and there's nothing to correlate the change.

It happens throughout to varying degrees, and after those pages, the novel thankfully finds its feet. The glorious flow of the series kicks back in, and the action following it is better structured, and far more fluid.

The series so far has worked fantastic mystery into its plots, but this instalment takes the cake. There's so much uncertainty and ambiguity that the reader feels the desperation and anxiety that the cast of characters go through. When vampires start to go chillingly crazy - not in a bloodthirsty way - the confusion is maddening. 

The gang is also splintered as resources are spread thin; they each have their own tasks and missions before they can come together for the massive finale. Factoring in that the town is in a kind of civil war, the division adds a whole layer of deceptive darkness, and our main characters seem horribly out of their depths.

The insane ambiguity surrounding who's an ally and who's an enemy is engrossing, and will definitely keep you on your toes.

Ms Caine knows how to end a story! I've seen a lot of people furious over the cliffhangers, but, personally, I think they're awesome. Especially since I have the next entries. 

Pace - 4/5 Stars

This ties in to what I said above. There's a disconnect to some scenes, mainly when there's tons of action or tons of exposition. I'm not 100% sure, but I get the feeling that a few liberties are taken in regards to continuity, but it's not too glaring. Yet.

The pace returns to a steady flow, picking up when it needs to, and slowing down when tense scenes need to be drawn out.

Characters - 5/5 Stars

Ms Caine's cast is compelling, lovable (even when they're evil), and well-fleshed out. And I mean, all of them (well, maybe not Claire's parents, who are largely nonexistent in Lord of Misrule). But, for this review, I'm really only going to focus on the characters that I think change and progress throughout the story, because much of them remain as I've described them in reviews for earlier books.

Claire, is just a fantastic main character. Smart, compassionate and only sixteen. But in this entry, she goes through an abundance of changes. She becomes much, much more cooler, as if Amelie is rubbing off on her. She's calm in dangerous situations - at least outwardly - and very competent when dealing with them. Her vulnerability is still there, but she's adapting to Morganville fast, even so far as to take on enemies she doesn't have a hope in hell of taking down.

Amelie, while surprisingly absent, is also another stellar cast member. The war cracks her icy exterior, and a more caring and often vicious side of her is revealed. She cares, in her own way, about the residents of Morganville, both alive and dead.

Love the introduction of Hannah, which is no surprise: she's tough, trained and effective against any and all dangers.

This series has a cast you just want to join.

Well, if the death and danger lowered in intensity...

Writing - 4/5 Stars

Jumping back - I'm becoming a broken record again, damn - the writing suffers in the same way the pace does. It just feels like there are sentences and paragraphs missing at points. Something to link the unconnected.

By the end everything comes together more or less whole, so it's not a massive worry, I just hope it's a one-off. 

Overall - 4/5 Stars

I'm gonna try and take a break from the series and come back fresh.

But Lord of Misrule's jaw-dropping ending might make that a little difficult...


Previous Instalment: Feast of Fools
Next Instalment: Carpe Corpus


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