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Friday, 1 April 2016

Midnight Bites by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires, Short Story Compilation) - Book Review

4/5 Stars

This diverse and supercharged group of stories will shine a little more light in the murkiest corners of Morganville...

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Edition: Paperback
Pages: 540
Chapters: -- (Doesn't have chapters, but instead consists of 22 short stories.)
Publisher: Allison & Busby

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Amazon
                      Author's Website

Review

So for a couple of weeks now my reading has been sliding... It sucks and I hate it, but sometimes life is just life. But I ain't gonna let life steal my love of reading for long, and what better way to ease back into the literary world than with a novel full of supernatural intrigue and glorious nostalgia?

Midnight Bites is a short story compilation by Rachel Caine, which, of course, compiles a wealth of shorts for her Morganville Vampires series. It's a neat collection, with a good variety of stories to immerse yourself in. Some of which I have read, thanks to their inclusion in some of my editions for the core series, but a lot of them were brand new for me. 

Spanning before, during and after the main series, Midnight Bites is probably best left for when you finish novels 1-15. There are some huge spoilers and story landscapes that will rob the core novels of some of their spirit.

Synopsis (There isn't really an overall blurb for what takes place inside this novel, so instead I'll give you a quick rundown of what the series is about.)

The Morganville Vampires series is a story that takes place in Morganville, Texas, a small, out-of-the-way town that is, of course, controlled by vampires. Claire Danvers, the sharp, witty and capable protagonist of the series, moves to town oblivious to the dangers of being ruled by the undead. She soon learns a few harsh lessons, and along with a diverse collection of friends, she's dragged into the power struggle between the living and the dead, with the supernatural meddling with their sanity.

It's a thrilling and action-packed set of stories that I highly recommend, especially if you're a fan of YA fantasy. This compilation spans the entirety of the core novels from various viewpoints.

Plot - 4/5 Stars

Normally with compilations, due to how contained each short is, I'd list each of them separately and give them their own star rating plus a mini-review. But, Midnight Bites has twenty-two little entries, and I know you guys have lives, so I won't take more of your time than I have to (it sounds considerate, but I'm also lazy as hell).

Overall, this collection is a nice treat. Being able to dive back into a much-loved world after its completion is always fun, and Caine certainly brings the fun. The shorts are interesting and informative, with quite a bit of fictional range in them. We travel through a variety of plots, jumping from vampires (obviously), to zombies (surprisingly), to ghosts (eerily), with sweet sprinklings of crazy technology and even a straight-up murder mystery.

There are a few 'meh' entries, fluff if you will, but the majority are juicy and remind the reader of just how powerful Caine's talents are. 

Pace - 4/5 Stars

Midnight Bites is well put together, feeling very natural with its progression as it keeps each short mostly chronological in regards to the core series. Each part on its own is quick, fun and full of adventure and the supernatural. 

Saying that, however, I do recommend you take this collection one short at a time. It's probably subjective, and a personal peeve of mine, but compilations always feel a little jagged. I think that's mainly because there's no connecting thread, each story is self-contained, and it's not always easy to stop and start.

Characters - 4.5/5 Stars

0.5 is being detracted because there simply is not enough Claire in this collection.

Aside from that, yaaaasssss! Give me life, characters of Morganville. Caine does a phenomenal job of reminding us just how diverse and distinctive her cast is. They are beloved, and Midnight Bites not only gives us great new adventures to travel on, it also works to add more layers to individuals' personal stories.

Ahh, old friends, how I've missed you.

Writing - 4.5/5 Stars

As always, Caine writes with ease, or at least it seems that way. The content of this compilation is light and witty, but the author still manages to darken the tone for appropriately sinister moments. The humour is on point and the shorts are concise and sweet. There's never a dull day in Morganville, and Midnight Bites does not disappoint.

There are also some nifty introductions before each short by the author. They give a little background and gravity, imbuing the novel with a warm, personal feel.

Overall - 4/5 Stars

Thank you, Rachel Caine, for this lovely book that keeps Morganville's candle burning for a while longer. And for fans of the series, Caine keeps the stokes burning for the Afterword, telling her readers that one day, she might just return to Morganville again...


For more Rachel Caine reviews (including ratings and reviews for the entire Morganville Vampires series): Index


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