Lord of Misrule
Published 2009 350 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
Morganville. Texas. Just south of normal.
In the college town of Morganville, vampires and humans coexist in (relatively) bloodless harmony. Then comes Bishop, a master vampire who threatens to abolish all order, revive the forces of the evil dead, and let chaos rule.
But Bishop isn't the only threat. Violent black clouds promise a storm of devastating proportions. As student Claire Danvers and her friends prepare to defend Morganville against the elements - both natural and unnatural - the unexpected happens: Morganville's vampires begin to vanish one by one. Discovering why leads Claire to one last choice: swear allegiance to Bishop… or die.
Lord of Misrule is the fifth book in Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires series. Written for the Young Adult market, the Morganville Vampires books follow the adventures of Claire, an academically minded sixteen year-old who had the misfortune to enrol for college in Morganville - a town run by vampires. The series so far has seen Claire just about getting the hang of life in a town where at best, humans are considered vampires’ pets and at worst - convenience food.
The series has a long running story arc. Each book continues the story from where the previous book ended and every book always finishes on a cliff-hanger ending. This means that it is best to read this tightly plotted series in order – otherwise the books won’t make too much sense.
Five books into the series and events have become more serious for everyone in Morganville, both human and vampire. The story is no longer just about Claire learning to live in Morganville without becoming vampire bait if she makes a mistake. Two vampire factions are fighting for control of Morganville and this means death and strife for humans and vampires alike.
Lord of Misrule starts where Feast of Fools (book 4) ended, with Morganville burning out of control after the evil vampire Bishop has taken control of the town. As the vampires concentrate on their own war, the town’s disgruntled human population decides to seize the opportunity to start a revolution against their vampire masters. Chaos ensues, leaving Claire and her friends to try and save what they can of Morganville for Amelie, the vampire Claire swore allegiance to.
As if riots, fires, warring vampires and angry mobs weren’t enough danger, a tornado is added to the mix to up the ante in the destruction stakes. While tornados are hardly unusual in Texas, one does have to wonder at what purpose it served in the story. It seemed like the author had a spare tornado in her bag of writing tricks and decided to throw it into the story just to drive home the feeling of end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it doom.
However, Lord of Misrule had lost me long before the superfluous tornado. Rachel Caine’s writing style is frantic. She throws heartache or other obstacles at her protagonists’ at a great speed. She knocks her heroes down before dragging them back up and setting them off running again. This exhausting rocket-speed pacing is practically her trademark. Usually she backs up the fast pacing with character and plot development along the way but somehow that seemed missing from this story. Clare and friends seemed to race all over Morganville, pulled from problem to disaster, yet they don’t further the story in anyway on their journey.
To me, this made Lord of Misrule a tedious read at best. With no greater story development I really wasn’t that interested in the protagonists’ struggles because I felt like I’d already been there and done that in earlier books in this series. The book ends on a great cliff-hanger, which is the most exciting part of the book but 15 great pages at the end of the book isn’t quite enough to make up for the 300 or so not so great ones that preceded them.
Lord of Misrule isn’t a bad book but it’s not great either. It certainly seems like a lacklustre effort in comparison to earlier offerings in this series. Still, the cliff-hanger ending had enough juice to rekindle my interest in the fate of Clare and the Morganville vampires. Carpe Corpus here I come!
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