‘Ghost Town’ is the ninth book in Rachel Caine’s effortlessly cool YA paranormal series, ‘Morganville Vampires’.
The previous book, ‘Kiss of Death’, took the awesome foursome – Claire, Shane, Eve and Michael – out of Morganville to gain a new appreciation for their bizarre town. But funnily enough, it feels as though ‘Ghost Town’ is more of a lead-on from book number seven, ‘Fade Out’. In the seventh book the master steampunk computer, ‘Ada’, who ran the town and ensured the vampire/human hierarchy broke down (okay. . . Claire eviscerated the master computer when it tried to kill her in a fit of jealousy over mad-scientist vampire, Myrnin. . .besides the point!). Ever since Ada’s destruction, Morganville’s vampires have been exposed to the outside, human world. The ‘fortress’ surrounding the town is down – meaning that residents can enter and leave without the normal induced amnesia that would ensure Morganville’s anonymity. In ‘Ghost Town’ Claire and her mad-hatter teacher, Myrnin, try to fix the mind-swipe problem, wish disastrous results. Instead of wiping the memories of everyone who leaves the town, the new computer is reversing everyone’s memories within the town by three years. . . that means Michael doesn’t remember becoming a vampire. Town founder, Amelie, doesn’t remember granting Claire protection. Myrnin is back to being a wack-job and Shane, the love of her life, doesn’t know who Claire is. . . or that his entire family is dead.
Just another day in Morganville, really . . .
I love this series so, so hard! I think one of the reasons I find ‘Morganville Vampires’ to be so full of gooey-awesomeness is purely for the fact that Rachel Caine seems to have the same enthusiasm for her series as her readers do. Maybe that sounds stupid and ‘duh’ (and very true of, well, all authors) – but hear me out. Her storylines always strike me as the sort of thing that you’d stumble across in a Morganville Vampire fan chat forum. An idea bandied about by hard-core fans whose fantastical imaginations run away with the series – so that storylines end up boiling down to “what would happen if you took the characters out of Morganville?” or in the case of ‘Ghost Town’ – “what if everyone got mass amnesia?”
I just love the way that Rachel Caine writes outlandish storylines that always, somehow, come back to the heart of the series.
That is very much true of ‘Ghost Town’. For eight books now our super-cool-super-nerd protagonist, Claire Danvers, has faced every big-bad and nasty situation with the help of her friends; Eve, Shane and Michael. ‘Ghost Town’ is really the first book in which they can’t really help her (heck, they don’t even really know her!) and she feels as though she is all on her own.
It’s at once really interesting to see Claire without her regular coping mechanisms and back-up – and also really fascinating to read Michael, Eve and Shane as they were before meeting Claire. . . when they were 15 and 16 and just rebellious Morganville youth. In ‘Ghost Town’ readers are really able to gauge how much growing-up this trio have done in three years, and how important Claire was to their development (particularly Shane’s).
As much as ‘Ghost Town’ is a ‘before and after’ snapshot of some of our favourite main characters, the storyline also acts as a hint of overarching themes to come. In this book Amelie, the town founder, is struggling in the wake of a new vampire order;
Morganville existed on a teetering, dangerous balance between the paranoia and violence of the vampires, and the paranoia and violence of the humans who outnumbered them. Right there, at the balance point, they could all coexist. But it didn’t take much to tilt things to one side or the other, and if that happened, Morganville would burn.It feels as though the town is going to come to a head with the new balance of power between humans and vampires. . . and ‘Ghost Town’ felt like it was laying the ground work for some very interesting future storylines. I won’t say too much, but an especially interesting future plot may well involve Amelie and Oliver in a whole new light. . . hmmm. . .
‘Ghost Town’ was also brilliant for offering new insight into everybody’s favourite fanged-loon, Myrnin. We get back-story about him and Ada, and a possible sticky-situation for Claire when Myrnin reaches new levels of crazy;
“He lives in a hole in the ground, dresses funny, and occasionally eats his assistants,” Eve said. “Define ‘crazy’.”I know fans of the series raise their eyebrows at Claire’s relationship with Myrnin. It’s undeniable that there’s something there, even if Claire is still (mostly) clueless. But it felt like Ms. Caine was dropping hints and laying groundwork for further development in their relationship too. . . I won’t give anything away, but Caine touches on the possible odd-ball romantic pairing a few times, and other characters allude to it as well. . . making me think this might be a main storyline in future books (hopefully not to the detriment of Shane/Claire though!)
Claire closed her eyes. “Okay. I think he wants to put my brain in a jar and wire it into the machine.”
I love ‘Morganville Vampires’. Rachel Caine’s unique YA series gets better and better with each new book and ‘Ghost Town’ is more cream-filling in the delicious series goodness. I look forward to ‘Bite Club’ coming in 2011 (and at least 2 more books after that due for October 2011 and April 2012!)