Title: Ghost Town
Author: Rachel Caine
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: The Morganville Vampires # 9
Date of Publication: November 2010
Publisher: New American Library
We’re back to Morganville for the ninth instalment of the Morganville Vampires book series!
Vampires and humans coexist (somewhat) peacefully in the sleepy town of Morganville, Texas. During the day, Claire Danvers attends the local university, but at night she works for the mad, genius vampire Myrnin in his lab, where he mixes alchemy with science. In this installment of the series, Claire and Myrnin “fix” the town’s security system, which insures that anyone who leaves Morganville immediately forgets about its uniqueness–namely, the fact that vampires roam the streets at night. But something goes terribly wrong, and everyone starts to forget who they are. The fact that Claire’s boyfriend doesn’t recognize her is bad enough, but when vampires forget what they are and start to lose their inhibitions? Not yet plagued by memory loss, Claire must seek unlikely assistance in saving Morganville from itself.
I enjoyed this installment in the series, but I realized that I’m really starting to dislike the vampires, and it’s making me dislike Claire for wanting to protect them. Early in the book, Claire kills a vampire in self defence, yet she is severely punished for it, because vampire lives are worth more than human lives in this twisted, messed-up reality. I wouldn’t mind this fact at all if the vampires weren’t so whiny about it. They’re very much “we’re the victims, despite the fact that we kill you all the time and don’t respect human lives at all”. And it’s not in a psychopathic, only my feelings matter sort of way. It’s in a whiny, toddler-mentality sort of way. It’s very frustrating. In other books, like the Sookie Stackhouse series, at least the vampires are extremely narcissistic, egotistical, badass, and evil. Somehow what Caine is trying to do, making the vampires vulnerable, makes them seem spineless and, quite frankly, annoying. This has resulted in me strongly disliking all the vampires, with the obvious exception of Myrnin, because he’s fabulous and wonderful and beautifully insane, which makes up for the boring monotony of Amelie and Oliver. I wouldn’t mind if Amelie and Oliver were to leave the entire series and we focused on Myrnin and his delightful weirdness for a book or two.
That said, this book featured some interesting character development for Amelie and Oliver. It shows that even vampires can learn life lessons. They’re revealed as being capable of change, despite not having aged for hundreds of years.
The Morganville vampire series is still a young adult romance at heart, and it features some adorable scenes between Claire and her boyfriend, Shane. It’s heartbreaking when he forgets who she is, but this makes it even more satisfying when he trusts her and protects her while she tries to save the town. At points it was a little too cheesy, particularly when Eve and Michael (Claire’s roommates) who are in love but don’t remember it, profess their crushes to each other. In the middle of a life-or-death situation. I think it was meant to be cute, but it was really quite ridiculous. But, to be honest, it was kind of accurate. Gotta love teenage hormones.
Another thing I love about this book series is the recaps at the beginning. Since the books jump into things without much preamble, it makes it easier for those who haven’t read the series in a while, or those who haven’t read the previous books, to understand what’s happening. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through a book which you haven’t read the previous installment in years, and suddenly having a critical piece of information revealed to you–something that would have changed the way you interpreted the entire first half of the book. The book’s forward provides everything you need to know about the town, its idiosyncrasies, without too many major spoilers for what happened in the previous books.
I recommend this book to those who want to read about vampires, but not about romance with vampires. Claire falls in love with a human boy, but she’s still navigating a dangerous world filled with blood-sucking monsters. She’s also a relatable main character in the sense that she’s very human, very vulnerable, and a bit of a nerd. Although, sometimes I think she’s too good, and I would like to see her go on a vampire killing spree. I guess I’ll just have to rewatch Buffy the Vampire Slayer if I want to see that.
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