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Friday, 23 October 2015

Kiss of Death by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires, #8) - Book Review

4/5 Stars

'You're holding our families hostage,' Claire said. 'We already knew that.'

'And I wanted you to hear it from my lips, so there would be no mistakes,' Amelie replied.

7248501

Edition: Paperback
Pages: 348
Chapters: 13 (Plus an introduction and epilogue.)
Publisher: Allison & Busby

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Amazon
                      Author's Website

Review

I never fail to enjoy a trip back to the fantastic world of The Morganville Vampires series. There's horror, comedy, action, fantasy, just about everything a YA lover needs. In Kiss of Death, Caine reinforces her consistent quality with a rip-roaring adventure that breaks free of the world the characters know. 

Well, in a way...

There's still the crazy, deadly reality filled with vampires, brushes with death, and a plethora of sides that leave you none the wiser as to who's friend and who's foe. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

Well, it is!

SPOILER WARNING

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

Freedom.
That's what Claire, Shane, Eve and Michael feel as they leave the confines of Morganville, a Texan town run by the undead. 
But it's not real freedom.
Just as they settle in to enjoy their vacation, the reality of their trip strikes them hard.
They're being used.
But with no legion of vampires sworn to protect them, the gang find themselves on their own.
In a world no less dangerous than the one they left...

Plot - 4/5 Stars

I only have a couple misgivings when it comes to the story. One: It takes far too long to kick in. The blurb doesn't make it clear enough, and the first hundred pages, while witty and filled with the cast we love, give no indication either. There are some scenes that break the monotony and eventually coalesce into something more substantial, but, my advice? Persevere.

Because when that plot does find its direction, it blows the roof off the joint! 

My second iffy feeling comes in the form of the beginning scenes, where Jason (he's the psycho brother of Eve, you know, the guy who stabbed Shane, kidnapped and terrorised Claire and was involved in the murder of several people, if not actually the murderer) appears for dinner. Claire scolds Shane for being so, in a word, nasty, and, I'm sorry, but how else do you act towards someone who stabbed you and almost got the love of your life killed? It's not a big thing in the grand scheme of things, but it stuck in my brain like a thorn.

But let's get back to the 'blowing our minds' part. Kiss of Death takes our heroes away from the usual setting. Yep, that's right, we get a road trip out of Morganville! It's not permanent, but Eve and Michael have never actually been out of the town, their lives have always been consumed with a vampire hierarchy. And while Claire and Shane have lived elsewhere, they've become so ingrained that it's practically a new experience for them as well.

Aaaaaand then it all goes to hell...

There's an ulterior motive to their 'supposed' freedom. Essentially, it ain't what they thought and action, terror and near-death experiences follow. It's fantastic! I especially love the latter part of the novel, set in the self-contained almost post-apocalyptic town of Blacke. Yeah, that's awesome.

Eventually, we reach a very satisfying end. It's not a jaw-dropping cliffhanger which we know the author can do well, but it still sends a shiver of fear up your spine, contrasted by a lingering message of hope.

Pace - 4/5 Stars

A little discombobulating. Too slow then it rockets into the speed of light.

You can guess which one I prefer.

Characters - 4.5/5 Stars

This cast = Family. We've been through a lot with them (and there are a ton more books to go). Caine always nails them! Apart from that questionable reaction from Claire at the beginning, everything falls into place. The cast's chemistry conveys some brilliant humour, and each member plays well off of one another. They're distinct and unforgettable. So easy to slip back in as if you've never been away. 

I do love the way Caine uses Claire's parents in this entry (it's about time they contributed!). They highlight the positive change their daughter's gone through. Essentially, her journey from timid, genius girl to badass, genius woman. And Claire is a badass. That bow moment? Someone tell Katniss to sit down. 

Writing - 5/5 Stars

I don't think I've praised just how approachable these books are. I really should have, so here goes. Caine is not one to dawdle. She can paint a perfect scene in only a few sentences; she can show a character's growth without telling; and the fun factor she injects is the glue that holds everything together. 

Overall - 4/5 Stars

Not the best entry, but it's not too far behind. 


Previous Instalment: Fade Out
Next Instalment: Ghost Town


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