Book Banter: Black Dawn

black dawnTitle: Black Dawn (Morganville Vampires #12)

Author: Rachel Caine

Length: 370 pages

Genre: YA Fantasy/vampire

Plot Basics: Fearless foursome Claire, Shane, Eve and Michael have gone up against their share of bad guys in Morganville, Texas, secret vampire stronghold town. But that was before the draug — the thing vampires are scared of — shows up. Nothing is the same in town and it’s an all out war. The four friends will have to learn how to re-trust each other if they have any chance of keeping their town alive.

Banter Points: I have every intention of finishing this series and have for a few years. I also am making a new intention of writing well-put-together reviews of them. This is series where I got blurbed, and yes, on the back of this one, is my oh-so-poignant statement: “Fans of Twilight should really check this out.” Because it’s better. Because that was a review written in the hey-day of Twilight madness and I was doing my self-appointed duty to try to point out other, better books.

First, I think Caine must have studied at the Joss Whedon school of “how to hurt your characters” because she definitely stepped it up in this one. I’ve always liked her as a writer because of how well she raises the stakes at the end of each book. All her characters have to face real and imagined losses in this book.

Second, this series remains a great page-turner. Twelve books and it’s not getting rote or repetitive. Yes, the basics of the four friends keeping each other safe and going up against the bad guys is the same, but Caine continues to invent new and different circumstances.

Bummer Points: The big, and flawed, difference between Caine and Whedon is that the main characters aren’t ever really in danger. She does a good job of breaking the relationships between Eve and Michael and Shane and Claire, but she also put them back together. I think Whedon would have left one of them fractured and forced them to keep working together through it until it was really fixed or irreparable.

Word Nerd Recommendation: These books are great for readers in their late teens/20s. The action keeps the books going and the relationships presented are far healthier examples.

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