Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Evil minions, broken promises, and a final showdown

Review: Carpe Corpus by

In a Glance: Evil minions, broken promises, and a final showdown – Will this be the end of Bishop’s rule of terror?

Title: Carpe Corpus
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: Allison and Busby
Format: Paperback
Pages: 356 (382 including the exclusive short story)
ISBN #: 978-0-7490-0777-5

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Normal life in Morganville has gone to hell in a fast car and shows no sign of coming back any time soon in this book. Bishop is in control, Amelie and her vampires are in hiding, and Claire is Bishop's evil minion, delivering his messages and carrying out his dirty work all over town. Michael is still under Bishop's spell, Shane's in a jail cell with his father and Eve is holding the fort at the Glass House. Everything has changed, the citizens of Morganville, Amelie's rebels and the humans alike, are all living in fear of their lives; Morganville got even scarier! But will it stay that way? Amelie is building a resistance but it's taking time, the vampire disease is getting worse and Myrnin is completely crazy (well, crazier than normal!) and dragging everyone into his whirlpool. It's up to Claire to make the peace and bring life in Morganville back on the rails, but it's not going to be easy.

Although a good book, the pace is significantly slower than the last few in the series. I'm in two minds as to whether or not this is a good thing. On one hand, it's necessary to have a slower book, take the tempo and the drama down a notch or two, so that we can catch our breath and absorb the massive consequences of Bishop's take over, and the events of the previous two books. On the other hand, the momentum was so huge coming into this book that you feel like you'd been catapulted into  and then hit a brick wall and go nowhere fast. That only lasts for the first half of the book, as the second half begins to pick up some momentum again. I don't know, personally, I'd have preferred to have had a tad more pace, but I can understand why Caine had to slow it down. Even with writing as good as hers, the steam was going to run out eventually!

So much happens in this book and the story, characters and key plot points in general are hugely developed in the 300 pages we have. With deaths, betrayals, break-throughs and plenty more, there's ample material to sink your teeth into. I think this is part of the reason I don't mind the speed change. Caine needed to spend some time developing the characters, the dynamics, the relationships and preparing for the next big step in the story. She does this brilliantly, still keeping the reader guessing and still demanding emotional investment from the reader (very subtly, might I add), and just really develops the new plot holes that have appeared whilst we were travelling at break neck speed through the last two books.

One thing I truly love in this book is Shane and Claire's relationship. It moves gradually from the innocence and 'holding back' that we've seen in the last 5 books into something so much more mature and deep. It's a truly beautiful culmination of their growing love, written so tenderly and sensitively, but with a great degree of honesty. Something I really like about the way Caine writes their first intimate scenes together is the honesty about Claire's 'first time' and also Shane's responsibility in using protection. It seems strange, but to have an author promoting these values sensitively in a book this popular, particularly amongst teenagers, is something you rarely see and I think Caine deserves recognition for the brilliant way she wrote this in. It isn't preachy or tacky, it's sensitive and a beautiful coming together of two souls who are so obviously deeply in love and made for each other, very emotional scenes; the love simply oozes from the pages and gives you the warm fuzzies.

Other characters are pretty same-y in this book. They're interesting, develop greatly and we learn a lot more about some key characters such as Sam and Amelie, amongst others. It was an eye opening book with regards to the characters, and Caine takes a very 'vampire' view to disclosing information, only giving out what she needs to, which is great as it keeps us guessing. I have so many imaginary meetings between Sam and Amelie and the things her rebels were up to that we never hear of. It helps keep the book alive and engaging, it draws you in, and keeps you really investing a lot of time and emotion in the books. To me, this is a key criteria of a good book, as if you aren't interested enough to think about it in your own time, it's obviously not that good. Readable, but not good.

Overall, it's a good book, it builds on a lot of foundations laid in the first few books and prepares the way for what would appear to be the happy ending we all want for the Glass House. But this is Morganville we're talking about, so surely the peace won't last, or will it?

She pressed her forehead against his, and then her lips, and it was hot and sweet and desperate, and the feelings that exploded inside her made her shake in reaction. Shane let go of the bars and reached through to run his fingers through her soft, short hair, and the kiss deepened, darkened, took on a touch of yearning that made Claire’s heart pound.

The pace is significantly slower than the last couple of books so it’s a bit tougher to get into, the ending redeems it though!

Plot : 16/20 – A bit plodding until near the end.
Characters: 18/20 – Good but mostly very same-y.
Writing:  15/20 – A lot slower than previous books, and not as engaging.
Creativity: 15/20 – Lacking somewhat, it’s a carry on from the other books, nothing majorly new.
Ending: 9/10 – The very ending is just happy (for a change) but the last few chapters are the best part of the book!
Cover: 8/10 – Same old

If you like this, you would like:

If you like the ‘love’ aspect of this try ‘The Divided Hearts’ by Karla Darcy. It’s a bit of a slow burning love story set in the past, but is very enjoyable and an easy read.

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