Rachel Caine is a very prolific writer, and I’m so glad! I’m a fan of all of her series, including her Morganville Vampires series. Bite Club is the newest installment in that YA series. Because I was really looking forward to reading it, I pre-ordered it and then it sat in my Kindle beckoning to me with its siren song while I had other books I was reading and reviewing.
If you’ve never read the Morganville Vampires series, that’s okay. You can pick up this series and start reading at any point, and it will still make sense even though it’s chronological. Once you’ve read Bite Club, however, I’d encourage you to go back to the beginning so you can fill in the gaps because it will be worth it. One of the many fun things about the Morganville Vampires series is that Rachel provides a Playlist at the back of the novel consisting of all the songs she listened to while writing. Her playlists are a great way to find new songs, and/or you can download them to listen along as you read. Talk about setting the mood!
A little background for you Morganville newbies: Claire Danvers is a brilliant student who wanted to go to MIT but was a little too unsure of herself, so she settled on a more local university for the first year or two and rationalized that it meant she could be closer to her parents. Little did she know Texas Prairie University was in a town run by vampires. Most students never figure that out and leave the boring little town of Morganville as soon as they finish college. Unfortunately Claire discovered it pretty fast and, once she did, she was not allowed to leave. After all, let’s be reasonable, the vamps couldn’t afford for the rest of the world to discover their secret, could they?
The other characters you need to know about for Bite Club are: Shane, who grew up in Morganville and is Claire’s boyfriend/roommate; Michael, who grew up in Morganville, has become a good vampire and owns the house Claire et.al. live in; and there’s Eve, Goth princess who also grew up in Morganville and is Michael’s girlfriend/roommate. Claire, Shane, Michael and Eve are all best friends. Rounding out the main characters are: Amelie, the Founder a.k.a., head honcho vampire, who dreams about a world in which vampires and mortals can all just get along; Oliver, Amelie’s second-in-command, who owns a local coffee shop; and Myrnin, Claire’s genius/mad scientist boss who is an ancient vampire, and who is literally certifiable. To say Myrnin has good days and bad days is a gross understatement.
“It wasn’t unusual to go to Myrnin’s secret lair/underground lab (yes, he actually had one) and find he’d invented edible hats or an iPod that ran on sweat. And considering that her boss built blood-drinking computers that controlled dimensional portals, Claire didn’t anticipate any problems understanding a mere university professor’s assignments. Half of what Myrnin gave her to read wasn’t even in a living language.”
In Professor Larkin’s class, Claire ends up having to do an experiment with Stinky Doug that involves what she realizes in shock has to be vampire blood. At the end of class, she sees Stinky Doug pocket some of the vials and knows he will disappear if the vamps discover what he’s done. Despite not wanting to get within a hundred yards of him without a gas mask, she decides she’d better get the vials back to protect him against the vampires’ wrath. She gathers Shane, Eve and Michael together to help her sneak into his dorm, only to find him murdered in his bed and the vials gone. Not good – not good at all.
“Doug was dead. He’d been murdered. She stopped, put her back against the hallway wall, and slid down to a crouch. She couldn’t breath. Her whole body was shaking. She’d seen a lot of unpleasant things since moving to Morganville, but this…this was worse. This seemed so cold. And the worst part of it was, Michael thought that the monsters hadn’t done it. Not the side of town she thought of as monsters, anyway.”
Meanwhile Shane and Eve have signed up for self-defense/martial arts classes with a new fitness center run by vampires who seem to be new to town. Fighting in kick boxing classes against vampires seems to tap into Shane’s intense anger against them. After he’s singled out for more advanced work by the fitness club’s owners, he begins to turn against his best friends in a way none of them can understand. As if that weren’t enough, out of the blue, Claire gets a call from MIT.
There are several mysteries that need to be solved in Bite Club. Among them are: 1) who killed Stinky Doug and why; 2) who has the vials of vampire blood and what was done with them; 3) will the vials further strain the fragile truce between vampires and mortals; 4) what the hell is wrong with Shane; 5) who are the mysterious vampires running the fitness club; 6) is it just a fitness club or what is it; 7) can Myrnin hold it together or will he try to kill Claire like he has all his past assistants; and, just for the hell of it, what will Claire decide about MIT?
This series just keeps getting better. If you’re a fan of the Morganville Vampires series, you’ll really enjoy Bite Club! If you’ve never read the series, you’re in for a treat!
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