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REVIEW: Carpe Corpus by Rachel Caine

REVIEW SUMMARY: While Carpe Corpus is the sixth installment in the Morganville Vampire series and I have not read any previous books, the story and characters immediately engaged my attention. While not a superhuman vampire slayer, teenage protagonist and brainiac Claire Danvers helps fill the void left by Buffy Summers.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Under the rule of the evil vampire Bishop, the tense peace between vampires and humans in the small college town of Morganiville, Texas, has been broken. An underground resistance is brewing led by the town’s former vampire leader Amelie, but all protagonist Claire Danvers can think of is the fate of her boyfriend Shane, who Bishop holds prisoner. Claire risks everything to rescue Shane from Bishop’s grasp and set the town of Morganville to rights.


PROS: A prolific writer, Rachel Caine easily filled this newbie in on what’s up with Morganville without an infodump even though I had not read the previous five novels in this series. This tightly paced story grabbed my attention right away, and I especially enjoyed both main character Claire Danvers and the enigmatic Myrnin.

CONS: If I had to pick a con for this novel, I’d say Claire’s Goth sidekick Eve seemed a little predictable.

BOTTOM LINE: I read this book in preparation for a fun interview with Rachel Caine for SF Signal in June. I would definitely recommend this novel to other readers interested in reading a Young Adult novel with a Buffy vibe.

Carpe Corpus is book six in Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires series, and while it’s the first of the lot that I’ve read, I had no problem picking up the story and being drawn in by the story and characters.

Carpe Corpus opens with Claire Danvers’ 17th birthday party, which should have been with her friends in the Glass House, where she’s lived since enrolling in college in Morganville after graduating high school early. One of the attributes that I loved about Claire is her sheer brain power. She’s a genius and is not afraid to use her considerable smarts, while at the same time not becoming a caricature of the “nerdy smart girl.” While her studies are definitely a priority, Claire is a well-rounded individual with a social life. She doesn’t let any one aspect of her life take over, including boyfriend Shane.

I like that Claire rescues Shane from Bishop. Caine handles this relationship deftly, portraying a guy who neither takes over Claire’s life nor lives in her shadow. Claire can respect Shane as well as love him, and he’s a great person to have in her corner. Without spoiling the plot, there are a few aspects of their relationship that raised a few eyebrows for me, but overall I think these two are a great combination.

Aside from Claire, ancient vampire Myrnin is by far my favorite character. He’s mysterious, esoteric, and unfathomable. Myrnin seems indefatigable until he just plain isn’t and is nearly defeated. I enjoyed the addition of creepy Steampunk-ish — with a vampire blood twist — “computer” Ada, especially the dramatic tension between Ada and Claire. In reading other reviews it seems this book depicts the point when Claire finally jettisons her previously shy nature, but the change seemed in character.

Other reviewers’ reactions have noted that Claire is a great antidote to Twilight‘s Bella Swan and I can see why. Even though Claire doesn’t possess any supernatural abilities, there’s a kick-butt quality to her that I found fills the Buffy void. I’ll definitely be catching up on the Morganville Vampire series and looking forward to the next installment.

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