Tuesday, June 09, 2009
"I am a good master," Bishop said, as if none of that had happened. "You asked me for a birthday favor, Claire. I granted you a visit. Today, I have decided that it was a poor gift. I will give you what you want. Shane will be free to go." Claire didn't dare to breath, blink, move. She knew this was a trick, a cruel way to crush her hopes, and Shane's too. "Why?" she finally said. Her lips felt numb. "Why now?" "Because I intend to teach you both what it means to defy me, once and for all, and let you carry the tale for me," Bishop said. "Michael. Hold them, but make sure the two of them see everything. I won't have my students failing their lessons. Bishop's control let go, and Claire stumbled backward into Michael. His arm went around her waist, and she felt the pressure of his lips close to her ear. "Stay still," he whispered. "No matter what happens, just stay still. Please. I'll protect you." On Michael's other side, Shane was very, very quiet. He wasn't looking at Bishop. He was looking across at Claire, and he was scared--scared that something was going to happen to her, she realized. She tried for a smile, but wasn't sure how it came out. Shane opened his mouth to say something, but before he could, a vampire guard came in, bringing a thin, scraggly man with a mess of graying, curling hair and a nasty scar down his face. Shane's dad. He looked older, thinner, and even more vulnerable than he had back in his cell--nothing like the big, scary monster who'd terrified her when she'd first met him. "Are you watching Shane?" Bishop asked, "I want you to learn, so that you don't make the same mistakes again." "Dad," Shane said. "Dad?" ~Excerpt from Carpe Corpus by Rachel Caine I've known Rachel Caine as the author of the Weather Warden series but didn't know until recently that she was also a prolific writer of teen fiction until I saw one of the books from her Morganville Vampires series. So when I received a copy of "Carpe Corpus" from Signet Publishers I took that as my opportunity to get acquainted with Morganville. Claire Danvers is a seventeen-year-old genius who came to Morganville to attend college but found out that once you live in Morganville, it's not that easy to leave. The town has been overrun with vampires, and they like to keep a tight leash on the human inhabitants. The vampires and humans had existed in an uneasy truce but the vampires have been taken over by Mr. Bishop, and he doesn't much care whether the humans in the town survive. Now Morganville is one big prison to anyone who isn't a loyal follower of Mr. Bishop. The situation has come to a boiling point: Claire's boyfriend has been taken prisoner; her parents are trapped in Morganville; a friend has been turned into a vampire and forced to do Mr. Bishop's bidding; and Claire herself is an unwilling slave to Mr. Bishop's whims. Since I haven't read any of the previous books in The Morganville Vampires series, I know I am coming into this review with some gaps in my knowledge of the storyline, but Caine does a good job of making the story readable even if you jump into it as late as I did. And I have to say, I'm impressed. It would be easy to make comparisons to Caine's series and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" because of the teenage characters. In fact, I can't help but be reminded of the Buffy TV show when she went off to college. But that would be unfair because the series isn't a riff on Buffy-- it is a unique creation all its own. Claire isn't a slayer, she's just a very smart kid who has become somewhat essential to the vampires. It seems there is a sickness among the vampires that is killing them off-- but only after they lose their minds. And Claire has helped discover a remedy that keeps the symptoms under control. If anything, she's not hunting the vampires, she's helping them. As you can see, "Carpe Corpus" is surprisingly complex for such a short book (256 pages). I read "Twilight" not too long ago and that whole book didn't have as much action as this book did in two chapters. It's got the whole teen angst thing without being obnoxious; the teenage insecurities; first love; petty rivalries-- oh, and vampires. Caine is a writer that has the entertainment factor down. Like all of her books "Carpe Corpus" is fast paced and suspenseful-- probably even more so than her "adult" novels. I feel that Caine has a very good understanding of how teenagers think; it comes across in her dialog and the story. Clarie and Shane's relationship also seems very credible as the first meaningful relationship between two young adults. It's definitely a teen novel geared toward a teenage audience, but has what it takes to bring in adult fans. I don't read a lot of teen fiction, but this series is entertaining enough to make me want to go back and read the first five books in the series-- something "Twilight" was unable to entice me to do. Soooo... If you happen to be a fan of Rachel Caine, or simply want to check out "The Morganville Vampires," I have 4 copies of "Carpe Corpus" to offer for giveaway. This contest is kind of unusual in that I am getting 3 books from the publisher -- which will be for U.S. entries only, and I have one extra copy in my possession that I will ship anywhere. What that means is that I will take entries from anywhere, but can only ship to one winner outside the U.S. I hope that makes sense. The rules are the same as always. Either leave a comment here or email me a sqt1969@(nospam)gmail.com (just remove the 'nospam' insert) under the header "Corpus" to enter and I will randomly pick 4 winners by Wednesday June 24th. Please make sure I can reach you easily. If I cannot reach a winner within 48 hours I will pass the prize onto another entrant. Multiple entries will be disqualified. Open everywhere. Good luck!