Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Dead Girls' Dance by Rachel Caine

Synopsis courtesy of

Claire has her share of challenges. Like being a genius in a school that favors beauty over brains; homicidal girls in her dorm, and finding out that her college town is overrun with the living dead. On the up side, she has a new boyfriend with a vampire-hunting dad. But when a local fraternity throws the Dead Girls' Dance, hell is really going to break loose.

This is the 2nd book in the YA Morganville Vampire series.
My thoughts.....
This book starts right up where the first book ended. It ended in such a cliff hanger I have no idea how I managed to go a full year without picking up the second.
What I didn't like....Now normally I would start out by posting the positive but today I am going to do just the opposite and start out with what I didn't like. I thought the beginning started pretty slow. It does start off where the cliff hanger ending of book 1 ended but it almost felt as if after the big bang the story came off of an adrenaline rush and crashed a bit. It wasn't until about half way through that things picked up. They picked up in almost a breakneck speed actually which can be good but also bad. Bad is if so many things are happening so fast the reader might get lost a bit in the shuffle. This actually happened to me once or twice and I had to go back and read a page or two because I kept missing things like "Claire jumped out of the car" and wondered how she ended up in the house when she was just driving. These things are technically minor and probably my own fault. Not only was the storyline taking off at breakneck speed I found I was reading at breakneck speed to keep up with the action.
Also one of the players in the 1st book indirectly affected one of the plots in this book (I don't want to go into great detail as to not spoil this book for those who haven't read it) and for the life of me I couldn't recall this player at all from the first book. Caine actually does do a good job in reminding the reader of specifics without completely spoiling the book for people who read series books out of order but to me the dude was really minor and it was hard for me to accept that he could change the lives of Claire and her roommates so drastically.
The title is misleading. Yes there is an event called The Dead Girls' Dance. Yes it took place within the book. But it wasn't a major event. It took up all of one chapter if that. Claire and Eve head to a frat party to see if they could get some info from a vampire they knew would be there and a new plot emerges which really doesn't tie in to the main one at all. I kind of felt as if I were reading two different books about the same cast of characters.
These books are definitely written to be a series. You really can't pick a random one up and enjoy it for it's own storyline. I think reading them in order is a must too. As I mentioned Caine does a great job of filling the reader in without spoiling the complete first book but there are some things that would be spoiled anyway so you really need to read these in order.
What I liked.....
Despite that it originally felt like none of the characters grew or matured, after finishing and reflecting I decided that they really did. Claire is still young but you see that she emerges more spunky and doesn't completely feel like a little girl playing dress up. Eve has always seemed pretty deep and we get a little more background on her life before moving into Glass House with the group. She sometimes seems young and easily upset and other times she takes control of the situation to help Claire through things. Shane's character also reveals more depth and additional background that helps Claire and the reader understand him more. Michael's character perhaps makes some of the most drastic changes. I am not sure if his changes are for the best or not but that is part of any series character's charms.
The last half of the book really pushed the book up from average to good. The action (although at times I had a hard time keeping up) was seriously there to keep my on the edge of my seat. The conflict between good and evil was there and the lines were completely blurred as to who was on what team which was very intriguing. Baddies from the first book might actually prove to be not so bad in the second which is an interesting concept.
I thought the ending was OK. It certainly wasn't much of a cliff hanger (thank goodness because I totally hated that!) but we as readers were definitely wondering what Claire would do next.
So, overall 4 stars. Not as good as The Glass House but definitely a good read.

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