December 30, 2009
Review: Fade Out vs. The Van Alen Legacy
By Rachel Caine
Released Nov 3 by Signet
Review copy provided by publisher
Read my reviews of CARPE CORPUS and LORD OF MISRULE
The Morganville Vampires is not my favorite vampire series, but it's one that holds steady and comes up with something interesting for each book. I expected FADE OUT to be the start of a new arc. Instead, Rachel Caine only teases with what is to come. FADE OUT focuses on a standalone story in addition to snipping a few loose ends. It works very well, as newcomers can pick up FADE OUT from the store without becoming too lost.
Claire's out of sorts because Eve has been cast in A Streetcar Named Desire, and now she's hanging out with her costar Kim. It doesn't help that Kim is clearly into Shane - who admits to Claire that they had a one-night stand. Michael has a shot at fame, but he can never leave Morganville. And Myrnin is more dangerous than ever, which makes me ridiculously excited. (Apparently, I am the kind of person who thinks daffy, mostly friendly characters who ultimately look out for number one and will stab you in the back without blinking are awesome to read about. In real life I avoid people who would betray me.)
The story moves along at a nice clip, which is good since Caine doesn't have many pages to waste. (The short page count always leaves me wanting more, but it does keep the story tight.) Amelie clearly has plans for Claire, and they aren't looking like plans anyone would want to participate in. Caine has always done a good job of keeping the vampires threatening even when they ally with the humans, and she continues in that vein not only with Amelie and Myrnin, but with Michael, who the readers and characters first knew as human.
I liked the breather of a standalone story, but FADE OUT has me ready for the next arc. I hope Caine continues to write books that deliver in and of themselves while contributing to the Morganville Vampire series as a whole.
By Melissa de la Cruz
Released Oct 6 by Disney Hyperion
Review copy provided by publicist
I thought the Blue Bloods series was awesome when I first came out. It was an interesting premise (reincarnation instead of eternal life), played with Christian mythology, and centered around a pun. All bonuses in my book. But while Caine has been dazzling me with her pacing, Melissa de la Cruz is lacking.
Part of the problem is the way she divides the novel between the narrators: Schuyler, Bliss, and Mimi. Each girl gets about five pages before the book zooms off to the next narrator. As soon as I would get into one girl's voice and story, I would be reading a different segment. I got frustrated wanting to know what would happen to someone who I wasn't reading about. Eventually I started reading by skipping and reading one girl's story as a whole, then reading the next. Short chapters are usually a ploy to keep you reading, but it felt like it slowed me down.
What helped even less? I didn't find all three of the stories compelling. Most of the story movement occurs in the last third of the novel. I think the most frustrating part is when everyone goes back to school. Who wants to read about the characters going to school when we could be reading about the battle for the fate of the world?
I'm not saying THE VAN ALEN LEGACY was a complete loss. There were some big developments at the end, and hopefully they'll cause big reactions in MISGUIDED ANGEL. de la Cruz built up some momentum, and now she needs to keep that up. Especially since the series began so promisingly.
Come back tomorrow for a short interview with Melissa de la Cruz.