1. Glass Houses
2. The Dead Girls' Dance
3. Midnight Alley
4. Feast of Fools
5. Lord of Misrule
6. Carpe Corpus
7. Fade Out
8. Kiss of Death
9. Ghost Town
10. Bite Club
(Extremely Short) Series Synopsis:
Morganville is a small college town in the heart of Texas-not a place that exactly screams "hotbed of creatures of the night". But college freshman Claire Danvers is about to discover why, in Morganville, you should never, ever stay out after dark...
If you read my reviews regularly then you know I'm not the biggest vampire fan. Heck, before this year I rarely read paranormal books at all. But the books I've read about vampires tend to be boring, chasing the same tropes over and over again. Vampire Academy is a huge exception to this. Those books amazed me, and made me appreciate that a talented author can take a paranormal creature I normally dislike and turn it into the basis for one of my favourite series. Despite this, The Morganville Vampires weren't exactly on my radar. But that all changed over the past couple of months. I'd been seeing this series everywhere! The books at Walmart, individual reviews on blogs I read, and people naming the series as one of their favourites in various 'Best Of' posts. I thought "Hmm, maybe I should pick them up." But 10 books is seriously intimidating. I held off. Then my library got an eBook of the first 8 (!) books of the series. I then thought "Well, that's an easy way to check out the majority of the books. Why not?" One 1500+ page eBook later and I was totally hooked. As I read book after book I quickly put physical copies of Books 9 and 10 on hold at the library as well. And if a series fails to bore you after 10 books? I'd say it's pretty darn good.
My (Spoiler Free) Thoughts:
To me, these books are the perfect reads because they offer a perfect combination of character driven drama, crazy action-packed scenes, and mega plot twists. Each book has scenes about the friendships and romances of the main characters, but there's also a (relatively) self-contained plot involving one major issue in each one.
When I think about what I love about these books my mind first goes to the foursome who live in the Glass House. I love how in a series about vampires the books equally focus on the "normal" people in Morganville (though I think if Eve heard herself described as normal she would either laugh or freak out). Claire Danvers is our main character, and she is all kinds of adorable. She's incredibly intelligent and very studious as well (going to college at 16 isn't exactly for slackers), and she's very sweet. When the series begins Claire is just starting off on her own and she's a little bit wide-eyed and naive. As crazy events surround her, though, she becomes a very strong and determined young woman, willing to stand up for those she loves, even to the detriment of herself.
Michael Glass is the owner of the Glass House, and he's a little bit of a contradiction. He's responsible and soft-spoken, but he's also a musician who has Rock God appeal when he's on stage. And then there's another little issue that Michael has, but I won't spoil it here. Eve Rosser, though not my favourite character, has her strong points as well. She's the sassy goth who is extremely loyal and quickly becomes Claire's best friend. Then we have Shane Collins who has very strong views about vampires thanks to his tough upbringing. Shane is fiercely protective and a bit of a tough guy, but he has a sweet side as well. Nic at Irresistible Reads chose Shane as one of her Book Boyfriends, so you can read just a few snippets of his sexiness and awesomeness here.
The series presents the reality of living in Morganville, a town full of vampires, as very much Us versus Them. And in a lot of ways that's the way the town works. Vampires aren't romanticized in this series. They are the enemy of humans, the rulers over them, and a serious threat. However, not everything is that black and white. Even the strictest rivals can work together against a common enemy. Even a cold-hearted vampire can protect a human. The villains of the series are so nuanced. I can pretty much only think of one or two characters who are out and out bad. The rest of them are so interestingly layered. The town's founder, Amelie, is cold and dangerous, and she pushes down restrictions and punishments on one hand, while protecting Claire on the other. Oliver is portrayed as someone who loves killing and war, and he can never be trusted, yet he also puts things on the line and works behind the scenes to protect certain people.
Of course some of the books are stronger than others. I found the latest, Bite Club, to be the most disappointing, but I say 'disappointing' while also noting that I gave the book a very strong 3 out of 5, and it was just as "unputdownable" as its predecessors. None of the books have failed to entertain me. They are all page turners and kept me reading during the day and up late at night so I could finish them. One thing is for sure: Rachel Caine absolutely knows how to tell a story. This is an incredible series for both the characters and the action. If you haven't picked it up yet, don't be intimidated by the size of the series. The books are such quick reads, and I'm positive that if you start them you'll very quickly fall in love.
Um, yah, not so much. They're very typical "I'm a paranormal book!" covers, aren't they? And who chose the model to represent Shane on the Bite Club cover? What a travesty!
[A very strong 4/5]
Check the official Morganville site for links to purchase the books, as well as FAQs, information, etc.
The Morganville Vampires #11, Last Breath, will be released November 1, 2011.