Thursday, April 12, 2012

Review | Last Breath by Rachel Caine

Last Breath
Rachel Caine
Morganville Vampires #11
Published 2011 by NAL (Penguin)
YA urban fantasy
4 stars

Bite-Sized Review
I keep expecting this series to disappoint me; it's been going on for a while, and at this point series often lose momentum. But Morganville Vampires is still absolutely brilliant: fast-paced, exciting, emotional, and generally excellent.

King-Sized Review
**A warning from Captain Obvious: Last Breath is book 11 of the series! If you don't want to see spoilers for the previous books, don't read this review.**

After the traumatic events of Bite Club, Claire just wants a chance to relax with Shane and help plan Eve and Michael's wedding in peace. Unfortunately for her, in Morganville, peace doesn't really happen. Both humans and vampires are strongly opposed to the inter-species wedding, and they're willing to go to great lengths to stop it. And as if that weren't enough, an ancient enemy of the vampires is back – and it might be more dangerous than they are.

Morganville is a wonderfully original concept. Instead of having vampires exist all over the place individually, all the vampires live in Morganville, brainchild of the Founder, Amelie. I love that the vampires aren't just misunderstood or angsty centuries-old teenagers. They're clearly predators and don't, as a rule, care much for humans as anything other than a food source. The complexity this world adds to the story is spectacular; the vampires aren't always the bad guys, and the humans aren't always the good guys. Instead, everyone has their own goals, which sometimes align with other people's. It makes the story seem much more real (despite the supernatural creatures).

Claire and Shane's relationship is also amazingly refreshing. It's important, certainly, but they have so much else going on that, while it develops most satisfactorily, it generally remains in the background without a great deal of drama.

Last Breath in particular was a little different from the rest of the series in that, though most of the book is in third-person from Claire's perspective, in this book, there were also chapters in first person from Amelie, Shane, Michael, and Eve. I was wary of this change when I started the book, but it really did convey necessary information that would otherwise have been really awkward to impart. The different voices were distinct and fairly natural, and while I prefer Claire's perspective, I liked the changing points of view much better in Last Breath than in Bite Club, where Shane's narratives mostly just annoyed me.

As usual, Last Breath is full of insane, emotional surprises. The addition of an unfamiliar supernatural creature (at least to me) was interesting and didn't seem nearly as contrived as it could have, probably because they were actually kind of scary. While certain aspects of the plot seemed rather...odd, for the most part the story was suspenseful and intense.

Overall, Last Breath was an excellent read, and I can't wait for Black Dawn!

Quality: Good
Enjoyability: Excellent

In the same aisle
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

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