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Friday, 11 December 2015

Fall of Night by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires, #14) - Book Review

4.5/5 Stars

WELCOME TO MORGANVILLE.

YOU'LL NEVER WANT TO LEAVE.

Yet here she was. Leaving. Actually leaving...

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Edition: Paperback
Pages: 443
Chapters: 15 (Plus an introduction.)
Publisher: Allison & Busby

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Amazon
                      Author's Website

Review

Now this is a welcome breath of fresh air. Caine more than fulfills the promise she set at the end of Bitter Blood: Claire, our protagonist, leaves Morganville under her own volition. She's free and clear. 

Ha! Fooled you! Free and clear? Pfft, this is a supernatural vampire series and Fall of Night is the penultimate novel, there is no way anyone is anywhere near the vicinity of safe.

But the departure from Morganville offers up a nice opportunity to contrast the town with the outside world, even if the town's problems don't stay within its borders. And after a rocky start, everything goes straight to eleven and gets us pumped for the final book in the series, Daylighters.


SPOILER WARNING

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

Claire Danvers isn't a Morganville native, but in the few years she's been there, well, she might as well be.
So finally leaving through her own choice and accomplishment is more than surreal.
She can go to MIT, her dream, and leave the deadly world of the vampires behind.
At least, that's the plan.
And when do plans ever go right for Claire?
She might not be surrounded by the undead anymore, but their existence ripples into Claire's life yet again.
And after all she's overcome in perhaps the most fatal town on Earth, the outside world could kill her...

Plot - 4/5 Stars

The beginning works well as a bucket of ice-cold shock. Pretty much how our cast feels. We depart from Morganville pronto, and Claire settles in to her new life at MIT with severely mixed emotions. The plot doesn't come into focus for awhile, detrimentally so. The first 100 or so pages are really just an extended view of how much Claire really, really, really misses her bad-boy boyfriend Shane. Caine usually has a good balance between her supernaturally charged stories and her romance, but Fall of Night is infuriating to begin with because of it.

It's practically every other paragraph...

But, as the overarching events take shape, that wonderful balance is reaffirmed. This entry in the series, while still heavily flavoured with the supernatural, gives the reader a thriller-type experience. There are secrets, conspiracies, organisations that want to enter the vampire community and ravage it in one way or another. And thanks to Claire's invention, a piece of machinery seen before, they might just be able to pull it off.

I am, in fact, talking about The Daylight Foundation: A group of men and women, scientists and soldiers, dedicated to testing and controlling the undead for their own selfish gains. And if you stand in the way, human or vampire, well, you're dead.

So of course Claire and her friends are thrown in the middle. There's betrayal and terror galore.

To top it off, a fantastic ending. Full of action, suspense and consequences that will no doubt extend into the final book. That's not a guess, because Caine's cliffhanger goes a long way to get your blood pumping.

Pace - 4/5 Stars

Once Caine finds her rhythm things go back to their reliable, smooth and adrenaline-infused flow, but the beginning is a little tough to dig into, especially if you're not a romance-heavy person. I don't mind romance, in fact I love it (see, romance) in balanced quantities. I'm not much for strictly romantic novels, although I do have my guilty pleasures, but when it's mixed in with other genres, it's all good.

Characters - 4.5/5 Stars

I'm gonna get my iff out of the way. Back in this entry's predecessor, Bitter Blood, a rift forms between lovebirds Claire and Shane. I won't go into it here, cause you can read all about it in my review for the book just mentioned, but sufficed to say I wasn't happy. I'm still not happy. One of the reasons Claire leaves is for some distance, some time for her and Shane to realise any and all mistakes, but it feels like a wasted progression.

Because it's not really a progression. Claire and Shane both spend inordinate amounts of time pining after one another that the troubles are ineffective in the long run. The romantic repetition (i.e. the constant mental tirades of how much they miss each other) serves no purpose but to drag the beginning of the book down.

Passing that, things get back on track. I was worried to begin with that our main four constituting Claire, Shane, Eve and Michael would be split, with some barely making an appearance. But despite the change in locale, Caine still brings them along for the ride. Solidarity!

Fall of Night contrasts Morganville with the rest of the world, but it also contrasts the characters and their mentalities with those places. Claire, confident and capable, faces problems other than the supernatural. Elizabeth, our protagonist's former best friend who's mentioned briefly in a few entries, takes a full-bodied role. She faces some real-life problems that run off Claire with barely any effect. Claire's calm demeanour and plans of action are a perfect representation of just how far she's come.

The rest of the cast, with only a few missing, are all exceptional. They're familiar, and, let's say it, they're family. 

Caine's final big bad The Daylight Foundation is a wonderful villain to end on (I'm assuming that's what's in store for Daylighters). Amelie, Morganville's founder and an uber-vamp all on her own, has always said that the biggest danger to anything is humanity and its fear. 

She's exactly right.

Writing - 4.5/5 Stars

Caine scales back her multiple viewpoints by having only Claire and Shane as chapter narrators. It's not a bad thing, and offers the reader a more streamlined experience, but it puts focus on the romantic issues I'm not too keen on.

Apart from a few other bumpy moments, the author pulls off another smooth and rapturous read.

Overall - 4.5/5 Stars

We're geared up and ready for the end.

I have a feeling it's gonna be big.


Previous Instalment: Bitter Blood
Next Instalment: Daylighters


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