Feast of Fools (Morganville Vampires #4) by Rachel Caine
One of my favorite things about this series is that there is quite a lot of context holding each and every book together. Each book very comfortably (for the most part) stands on its own. That’s not to say that you don’t need to have read each book prior to the one you’re on—you would definitely be missing some highly vital information if you tried to skip around. But each book feels like it has its own focus. This isn’t terribly unique. What I find so appealing about these books is that the books also all hold together to one long plot arc. They’re not as serially planned out as most series nowadays are. I feel like the story doesn’t just begin and end at convenient points to make a novel, and I don’t feel like small details are being thrown in just to make book 3 feel like it relates more to books 2 and 4 — the plot does that all on its own.
This may be the sort of thing that bothers some people, because you end up getting cliff hangers, and the books don’t actually wrap up all of the loose ends and tie a pretty bow around the characters to call them happy. I’ve heard many a complaint about other series that have that “problem,” but for me having a plot that holds together is one of the most important things. It’s especially great when I don’t manage to predict everything that’s coming, and while I’m able to call most of the short-term reveals, I honestly don’t know what to expect in book 5, or how Caine will manage to get her characters out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves. But I have every confidence it will be a believable solution, because I haven’t had a reason to doubt yet.
Even more wonderful, I like the characters. All of the characters have their own classic reactions, and I empathize with all of them (well, all of the main characters, anyway—some of the supporting ones I wish would eat shit and die, which is kind of the point of their role, so that’s a success too!).
So I’m raving about how this series has a great plot, and it has great characters—why didn’t I take the extra half step and give this one a 5?
In spite of everything I loved about this book, and have loved about the other Morganville Vampire novels so far, there’s something about them that keeps from resonating with me. I think part of it is the world it’s set in—I was a little turned off from the very beginning because of the circumstances bringing Claire to Morganville in the first place. Sure, they’re believable enough, and I can’t really argue with it, but… It just didn’t sit right with me. And in the first book there were some inconsistencies in Claire’s character that I can’t help but ignore even this far down the road. For instance, there’s constant raving about how intelligent Claire is, but she actually was behind where I was in math when I graduated high school (yes, I realize that she was also two years younger than me, but you can’t expect to do well being moved to high-level physics in college when you don’t have the foundation mathematics to be able to actually do the work).
I’m also not a huge fan of the world itself. I haven’t managed to poke any holes in it that haven’t been resolved by Caine already (most of which were fairly early on), and that’s great, but some of those holes feel like they were patched rather than truly fixed. They were patched with back-story and some solid explanation, but they still feel like patched holes instead of never really having been a problem with Caine’s concept of Morganville to begin with. In particular, the fact that humans lose their memories of Morganville if they ever manage to leave. To me, that feels like a patch to fill the hole of how Morganville has managed to stay so isolated in terms of recognition of the vampires. It may not actually be a patch, but to me that’s what it feels like, and I haven’t quite been able to shake that enough to let this one get all 5 stars. Maybe later in the series I’ll move off of that and love these more.
Unfortunately, as a consequence of all of the awesomness I just talked about, there’s a bit of a learning curve I had to come down at the beginning of the book to remember what had gotten me there. These are really books that are best to work through back to back since I’m not waiting for release dates, but I learned a long time ago that I tend to get sick of authors that way, and I really don’t want to burn out on this series just because I want to read it faster. And I just know that that’s exactly what would happen with this series, because it was definitely a problem for me with Caine’s Weather Warden series. At around this book number … That said, I probably won’t go to book 5 straight away, though I haven’t quite decided where I will go next. I guess we’ll see!
Posted on May 30, 2013, in Urban Fantasy/Paranormal, Young Adult and tagged book reviews, books, fantasy, morganville vampires, rachel caine, supernatural, urban fantasy, vampires. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.