Friday, June 7, 2013

A crazy father, angry vampires, life changing decisions with a bit of romance thrown in too?

Review: The Dead Girls Dance by Rachel Caine

In a Glance: A crazy father, angry vampires, life changing decisions with a bit of romance thrown in too? All in a normal week when you live in Morganville!

Title: The Dead Girls Dance
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: Allison and Busby
Format: My own tatty paperback
Pages: 368 (or 380 including Eve’s diary)
ISBN #: 978-0-7490-7986-4

Authors WebsiteGoodreadsBuy This
Book two in the Morganville series doesn't disappoint in the slightest. It picks up exactly where the last book ends, with the arrival of Shane's psychopathic, vampire hating Dad and destruction he brings with him. It follows our 'dysfunctional' family of Eve, Michael, Shane, and of course little Claire through a pretty rough few days in Morganville. Shane's father wreaks havoc and destruction, Michael makes a big decision and Claire entrenches herself ever deeper into the murky world of the vampires, with what could be disastrous consequences.

The book is fantastically engaging. Honestly, I don't know of many series of books that carry on the momentum so well and get you even more excited about the story! You invest even more in the story and the characters, truly allying yourself with the dysfunctional Glass House residents in their war against vampires. They’re a great bunch, and Caine doesn’t disappoint with the dilemmas they face, both collectively and individually, throughout this book.

It's in this book we begin to learn that not all vampires suck (pardon the pun, I couldn't resist!) as we discover the delicate and lonely Sam. He's a lovely character, one I find myself quite drawn to, and I just love that he is, essentially, this 'evil being', but he's more human than Monica and her cronies, which really can become quite confusing! Claire comments in this book that the lines between good and bad are really confusing in this town, blurred almost, and I have to agree with her. There are vampires that are good, vampires that are really bad, humans that are scumbags and poor old Claire stuck in the middle trying to reason where the boundaries lie. This is something I really love about this book, the fact that it really makes you consider the traditional 'good vs evil' stereotypes, and for the record, I can't decide either, I'm lumping with Claire on this one, it's a debate that needs more attention! (If you think you know the logic, answers on a postcard to put me out of my misery please!)

Something else that is an absolute delight to read in this book is the budding romantic relationships between Eve and Michael (mainly from the diary snippets in the back of the UK version), but especially the romance between Shane and Claire. Now you already know, if you read my review of 'Glass Houses' that I have a slight (well ok, major) book crush on Shane, so the fact I associate most with Claire means I get a real buzz when those two have lovey-dovey scenes. They're a delight to read, Caine pitches the romance just right, it's not too explicit, but it's tastefully done, with plenty of raw emotion and just, well, it renders me speechless! It also makes me a tad jealous that there isn't a Shane out there for this lonely bookworm (again, if you know someone stick your answers on a postcard please!) but overall, I just get the warm fuzzies because he helps her, she definitely helps him, and they are simply the perfect match for each other! I think it’s a bit early to label it perfection, but they are definitely in my top 10 for literary couples.

As far as the drama and plot goes in this story, it's much better than the first in the series, even if I do still find the fact vampires are living in the middle of the Texan desert a tad odd. The storyline is a lot more 'together'. I want to say plausible, but if you've read this (and if not, when you do go read this) you'll know that 'plausible' is a bit generous to the plot line! ‘Morganville probable’ is a more apt turn of phrase, but even that doesn't sound ideal. Either way, the plot holes are better and less noticeable (especially on the first read through), the characters are better padded out and have more depth to them and the vampire secrets are so very slowly being trickled to the reader in subtle ways with great skill. Caine pitches it just right in my opinion; she gives you enough to keep you satisfied, yet somehow you just can't stop reading to find out more. And that, to me, is the sign of a great book.

Overall, this is a fantastic continuation of the series with so many new and fresh ideas brought in whilst still keeping the foundations the same, if that makes any sense. And if it doesn't, you need to go read these books so you know what I mean!

I love this snippet, even the marble of a vampire is susceptible to some bunny slipper humour! ‘And I appreciate your vigilance, Lisa, but your caution is unnecessary,’ Amelie continued. ‘Please return to your – ‘ For a second, Amelie hesitated, and Claire couldn’t imagine why until she saw that the vampire’s gaze was fixed on the sight of Lisa’s bunny shoes. It was only a second, a little crack in the marble, but Amelie’s eyes widened just a bit, and her mouth curved. She has a sense of humour. That, more than anything else, made Claire feel lost. How could vampires have a sense of humour?

 A great continuation, just a few little niggles that stop it from being perfect.

Plot : 17/20 – Much improved, but still room for improvement!

Characters: 20/20 – Some great new additions in this book.

Writing:  20/20 – She’s got me truly hooked, love her style!

Creativity: 17/20 – Have to mark down a bit here because the whole human renegade vs vampires is well used, but it’s how Caine deals with it that keeps it fresh.

Ending: 9/10 – You get the warm fuzzies of something good, but there’s only a tiny cliff hanger this time!

Cover: 9/10 – I always think the girl on my cover looks a bit like Eve, and her face sums up a lot of the emotions in this book! 

If you like this, you would like:

This gets tough as my top recommendations are over on the ‘Glass Houses’ review, but here are some other books with a similar theme (Vampires, obviously!):

 - The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer – admittedly, not the best written books in history, but if you overlook the corny ‘star crossed lovers’ idea then the romance can be pretty cute. Plus there’s plenty of hotties (Team Jasper for me!)

 - Interview With A Vampire by Anne Rice was recently recommended to me by a friend with an interest in vampires like me. I haven’t got my hands on it yet, but if the movie is anything to go by it’s a promising read.

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