Friday, 7 August 2015

Carpe Corpus by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires, #6) - Book Review

4/5 Stars

Claire felt a nasty, cold burst of fear.

Sure, she could scream the place down, but this was Morganville...


Edition: Paperback
Pages: 382 
Chapters: 10 (For UK readers, there is also a short story at the end.)
Publisher: Allison & Busby

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


Overall, Carpe Corpus is a neat entry to the series; it's fun, interesting and has a huge world and mythology to pull from and play with. For the most part, the story comes together well, and Ms Caine does a great job of reminding us in each instalment just how stellar her characters are. 

But, there are some small things - continuity, little inconsistencies - that are piling up. I'm not sure I would have noticed them if I wasn't reading one book after another, and it's entirely possible I'm wrong, so if I am, feel free to correct me, but I double-checked some of my gripes...

...and in some places there are definite mistakes.

Again, though, it's not a massive problem. Ms Caine has some fantastic stories that completely engross the reader, and I'm definitely hooked on the series.


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

Claire has become the magically bound lapdog to the evil vampire Mr Bishop.
She's lost her friends.
Her family can't help her.
And her Patron, Amelie, is still MIA.
The funny thing is, Claire knows she's a pawn, being moved around by both sides.
And the end for a pawn is never a happy one...

Plot - 4/5 Stars

Carpe Corpus's story is a double-edged blade. The good things are also the bad... Don't worry, if you're confused, you're sorta where I am.

The main plot, the war against Mr Bishop, is good. It's structured well to maintain interest, has some nice action, and pushes forward the series into territory I'm excited to enter. The problem is that, for the majority of the time, it feels very been there, done that. The fight with Bishop and the dangers he brings is along the same lines as Feast of Fools and Lord of Misrule, the two books preceding this one.

Thankfully, I think this entry wraps that thread of the story up, but it's not clear.

And, despite the familiar territory, Ms Caine adds new, nifty elements that help keep everything fresh. There are some predictable twists, but also some truly surprising ones.

Then we move on to the intricacies and dynamics of Morganville. We go into greater depth in Carpe Corpus, a lot of depth, and it's intriguing. I'm ready and raring to continue on. But - I feel like I'll be saying this word a lot - there are some areas where it falls short. Sometimes a wealth of information is given on something that doesn't necessarily need it; whereas, things that do, aren't elaborated on. The inner workings are stacking up, but not all of it meshes.

In terms of continuity, everything mostly matches up, with only a few mistakes.

Such as when Claire thinks to herself that she remembers watching Amelie turn Michael into a vampire, yet, this isn't true. Sam removed her from the room at Amelie's request, and so Claire shouldn't know how a vampire is made. But when Bishop turns Shane's Dad, she's very knowledgeable, despite the fact she shouldn't be.

Again, I'm not sure I'd have noticed most of the stuff if it hadn't been for the fact I'm flying through the series in a short amount of time. It doesn't alter the plot in any major way, so I'm not judging too harshly. I love this series, so far, and I'm a little giddy that there are so many entries left to devour.

Pace - 5/5 Stars

A definite improvement over the previous book. The pace returns to an addictive, steady flow, with a healthy balance between exposition, development and action. The interesting elements propel everything forward, and the characters are great drivers as they manoeuvre around such a huge world.

Characters - 4.5/5 Stars

Claire has her misgivings, as every main character does, but I love her to pieces. Carpe Corpus starts with her being completely secluded. She has her parents, of course, but they're powerless to help her. Her friends, Michael, Shane and Eve, are all otherwise engaged and trapped in their own rights, but Claire seems to be the major punching bag for everyone. The fact that she still stands tall and fights for what she believes in - even when she's magically bound against her will - is inspiring. There are some awesome moments when Claire is gloriously badass, and I got goosebumps.

Eve's initial portrayal shocks me, and disappoints me. Her nastiness and disregard for Claire is really out of character. Especially since she still regards Michael so highly, and he's in a position that runs parallel to Claire's. Eve moves out of the funk, though, and returns to her usual self, thankfully. 

Shane and Michael don't change much, but I am noticing some increasing vampire-like behaviour in the latter.

Probably the biggest addition to the story, is Ada. I'll try and get this right: Ada is a part-human, part-vampire, part-machine, that is the supercomputer behind Morganville and its more supernatural aspects. She's intriguing to the max, and has quite the personality that's capitalised on very well. There are a few question marks around some of the exposition given to her, but I'm withholding judgement in case they're cleared up later.

The cast in its entirety fit perfectly, and Ms Caine is great at using them.

Writing - 4/5 Stars

The only real issue I have with this entry's writing is the noticeable drop in humour. Earlier instalments had me laughing my butt of, but the line between the sarcastic and serious in Carpe Corpus tends to lean in favour of serious. 

Overall - 4/5 Stars

A decent addition to the series, with decent characters and decent writing. 

Previous Instalment: Lord of Misrule
Next Instalment: Fade Out

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