From the BLURB:
Vampire musician Michael Glass just received the call he’s been waiting for al his life. His music has attracted the attention of a heavily connected music producer who wants him to cut a demo and play some dates – which means Michael will have to enter the human world.
But he won’t be alone. He’s been assigned an undead escort, which includes immortal enforcer Oliver, as well as Michael’s human friends: rebellious Eve, oft-misunderstood Claire, and courageous Shane. And with that mix of personalities, this is going to be a road trip from hell.
But what waits for them proves more perilous than they thought. Caught between humans who hate them and a savage part of traveling vampires out to create a blood-soaked feast for themselves, Michael and his friends may not make it to the show on time… or ever.
To paraphrase 50 cent, I love ‘Morganville Vampires’ like a fat kid loves cake….
But I was a little sceptical going into ‘Kiss of Death’ – mostly because this is the first book in the entire series that takes the characters out of Morganville.
It’s one of the things I love about this series – the setting. It’s kind of a genius way for Rachel Caine to explore tired vampire mythology; by putting a modern ‘social experiment’ spin on it. So yes, I was a bit iffy on the idea of Claire and the gang journeying out of Morganville and taking their show on the road… but as usual, Ms. Caine delivers another incredible instalment that left me hungering for more!
This 8th instalment has our beloved characters going on a road-trip to Dallas, Texas. But oddly enough I would say this book, more than any other, brings the focus back on the town of Morganville and triggers a deeper exploration of the relationships of our protagonists.
For Eve, this road-trip marks her first departure from Morganville. She has grown up around vampires, never knowing anything other than the ‘eat or be eaten’ human hierarchy of the township. It was really interesting to read Eve’s reactions to the ‘outside world’, and really put into perspective just how closed off Morganville is.
Caine really explores the deeper issues of Morganville and its human/vampire cohabitation when Claire and the gang come across a small town that’s also over-run by vampires. Only difference is: this town doesn’t have the same mortal/immortal societal balance… here, the humans are prey and the vampires are bent on mayhem.
It was a really clever way for Caine to both shake things up in the series (by taking it *out* of Morganville) but also examine the heart of the series. By having this contrast between a vampire-run town and a vampire/human run town.
I think ‘Kiss of Death’ has come at the perfect time in the series too. The character are getting older – our protagonist, Claire, is now 17 and in a serious relationship with Shane (19). It makes sense that as our protagonists step into adulthood, they start questioning the norm and their status-quo.
As much as ‘Kiss of Death’ examines the wider theme of Morganville’s superstructure, Caine also cleverly brings the story back to focusing on our four main protagonists. Claire and Shane have been dating for quite a few books now, and sleeping together for the last 3. Michael and Eve have also been an item for a good portion of the series. The last few instalments have seen our protagonists fighting big bad guys, and not have a whole lot of time for big relationship questions. But in ‘Kiss of Death’ Caine plants some interesting seeds for future exploration as each character takes stock of their lives and how their romances are evolving. None more so than Michael – the only vampire of the group – who starts to question the longevity of his relationship with the mortal Eve.
And the best thing about ‘Kiss of Death’ is that Caine explores all these relatively ‘big issues’ while still staying true to her series standard. ‘Kiss of Death’ is yet another helter-skelter, action-packed story. There are blood-thirsty vampires, car chases, Claire does some cross-bow action… it’s the writing Caine excels at, the edge-of-your-seat thrill ride stuff. And thrown in are some very sweet and tender moments, especially between Shane and Claire.
“Boys,” Eve interrupted, when Michael started to make some smart-ass comeback. “Focus. Dangerous vampire attack imminent. What’s the plan?”
Michael kissed her lightly on the lips, and his eyes turned vampire-bright. “Don’t lose.”
“It’s simple, yet effective. I like it.” Shane extended his fist, and Michael bumped it.
“I am never taking a trip with either of you ever again.” Eve said. “Ever.”
“Excellent,” Shane said. “Then next trip, we hit the strip bar.”
“I have a gun, Shane.” Eve sighed.
“What, you think I actually loaded yours?”
Eve flipped him off, and Claire laughed.
Even now, things just stayed normal, somehow.
I love Rachel Caine, and I adore her ‘Morganville Vampires’ series. ‘Kiss of Death’ takes the story out of Morganville, but Caine’s incredible writing brings the series focus back to the town and four residents we’ve come to know and love.
'Ghost Town' Morganville Vampires #9
26 October 2010