January 7, 2009
Lord of Misrule
By Rachel Caine
This is the fifth book in The Morganville Vampire series. It's a rather involved series, so there will be various and sundry spoilers for the previous four books. If you haven't read them, skip this review and pick up a copy of GLASS HOUSES.
The back of the book proclaims that Morganville, Texas is just south of normal. As the book begins, things have really gone south. Amelie's father Bishop wants control of Morganville and she's not willing to give it up without a fight. The vampires are being called to battle whether they like it or not and the humans are splitting into factions.
Rachel Caine presents an interesting sociological problem in the series: just how would vampires live alongside humans? Now she adds in what would happen if the vampires were distracted and lost their control over the more rebellious elements. Some of the factions show more sense than others, but all show enough sense to not like Monica. (Yes, it is wonderful to see Monica face a little retribution.) Some help, some hinder, some coexist. Without bogging the story down Caine presents a wide variety of reactions to the situation.
Caine gives a lot of bang for the buck. The Morganville Vampires books are pocket-sized, but they're full of action. LORD OF MISRULE manages to make some of the previous entries in the series slow-paced. It makes me a little sad that the novels are limited omniscient through Claire's POV. The main gang (Michael, Eve, Shane, Claire) split up for most of the novel and some of the others have adventures that would be even cooler if they weren't briefly recounted after the fact.
Of course, most of the main ensemble being off-screen works. It makes the atmosphere even more tense, because even as Claire struggles to survive she doesn't know whether she'll be returning to find her friends didn't.
Can I also say I love Myrnin? Caine does a great job as using him as both the loveable and wise mentor and the reminder of just how inhuman the vampires can be (in case Sam and Michael make you forget). In this series the vampires prove they're more than just angsty humans with fangs. Claire and friends are fighting for the side least likely to kill them, no because they think Amelie is sunshine-and-rainbows.
The series does have a softer side, with the relationships between Shane and Claire and Michael and Eve. However, LORD OF MISRULE focuses more on moving the overarching plot along than the relationships, not that there aren't some nice moments with the couples.
LORD OF MISRULE hit shelves yesterday and the previous five books are already available. CARPE CORPUS (Book Six) will be available in June. Rachel Caine is also the author of the Weather Warden series. She can be found at her website, eljay, and MySpace. If you live in the Metroplex, she will be signing from 12-3 at Legacy Books (Plano) this Saturday. (While I'm sure it's a cool bookstore - independent - Plano is at least an hour away. She should totally sign in Fort Worth for my convenience ^^.)
ETA: I forgot to mention this, but I've heard of the Lord of Misrule before. He's chosen to preside over the feast on a day when the masters act as servants and the servants as masters. Looked it up since the phrase rang a bell and it turns out he rules over the Feast of Fools. In another twist, when the British appropriated the custom they set the feast on Christmas. LORD OF MISRULE was released on the Epiphany. Way cool, no?