Pooka Quick Pick: “Bitter Blood”

So sometimes – especially after I’ve just finished a particularly stellar novel – I do this thing where I cannot decide what to read next. I get horrible reader’s block. I end up bringing home half of the library, ripping apart my bookshelves, and sitting amidst piles and piles of books like some crazy hoarder. I basically create a book fort, which sounds kind of awesome, except that I usually sit inside of it muttering to myself. I read the first 5 pages of about 2,584 books and find I can’t commit to any of them.

Here’s what my stack looked like this time around:

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If you look closely, you can see further evidence of my craziness in the background. (Yes, my Christmas tree is still up. I know that it’s January 24th). What I really should have captured is me housed inside the fort…but there shouldn’t be too many pictures of imaginary beings floating around the internet. Gotta keep it at least sort of on the DL.

I’ve found that the best thing to do when I feel this way is to read something totally inconsequential until my mind is back in the game. Remember when I said in my last post that nobody really cares what a book’s about (all that matters is how it’s written)? Well, these books are the exception. I read them solely for plot & story and not at all for prose.

Enter inconsequential:
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Title: Bitter Blood (Morganville Vampires #13)
Author: Rachel Caine
Genre: YA (Supernatural Romance)
Publisher: New American Library
Publication Date: November 6th, 2012
Hardcover: 416 pages
Is There a Pooka in This Book?: No. That would make it something of consequence.

I’m going to try to make this brief – a Pooka Quick Pick instead of a full review – because this was just an in-between read.

As you may have noticed, this is the 13th book in the “Morganville Vampires” series — and you do have to read these books in order. What this means is that I’ve invested a fairly significant chunk of time into the series, so I must not hate it. This doesn’t mean that I won’t be on my deathbed, wishing I didn’t waste so many living hours reading about the undead — but I probably won’t be. It’s a guilty pleasure that I happily indulge. It all goes back to Buffy… 

Here’s what you need to know if you haven’t read this series:

  • If you like teen paranormal romances, you’ll think these are awesome. Go to the library & borrow Book #1: “Glass House.” Or, go to the bookstore and buy it. It comes in a mass market format so you can get all sorts of cheesy goodness for a little over $5.00. (They also come in collected volumes (roughly $15.00) so you can get 3 books for the price of 1 standard paperback).
  • The heroine – Claire Danvers – is totally great. She could recite the Periodic Table of Elements backwards and forwards (and knows, I’m sure, if there even is a “forwards” or “backwards” when it comes to the P.T.O.E.) and she knows how to handle a crossbow. When the series begins, she’s 16 and just starting college at Texas Prairie University. She’s new in town and not planning to stay very long – just long enough to get some credits under her belt before she transfers to MIT. As it turns out, Morganville, Texas isn’t like other towns. It’s run by vampires. Some students are oblivious enough and they never learn the truth. Those kids are free to come and go as they please but once someone learns the secret, they can never leave. Claire’s not oblivious. But she meets some friends, kicks some ass, locks some lips, etc. etc., so staying turns out to be not so bad. The series follows her around on her misadventures.
  • The vampires are not cuddly and sparkly. They’re killers and politicians and they’ve had hundreds of years of practice manipulating people. They’re scary and ruthless.
  • Eventually, you get to meet a vampire who’s scary in his own right (he’s bloodthirsty and insane), but he’s also hilarious. My two favorite things about him are that he’s got a pet spider named Bob, and a fabulously eclectic wardrobe. He’s got all of the vampire classics: frilly shirts, top hats, velvet capes… but he pairs them with unexpected, ridiculous novelties like Hawaiian shirts and (I’ve got to get myself a pair of these) vampire bunny slippers:

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… And here’s what you need to know if you have read the other 12 books:

It’s not the best book in the series (Book 4: “Feast of Fools”), but it’s not the worst book either (Book 7: “Fade Out”). The conflict & the villain really worked in this one. The development of characters’ relationships was full and interesting. What didn’t work was the way Caine switched perspectives. She felt the need to include a special Author’s Note at the beginning, “You’ll be seeing several points of view in this book. Claire’s is our basic story, with Amelie, Oliver, Shane, Michael, and Myrnin adding their own points of view to what’s happening. So be sure to note the chapter headings.” As if her readers aren’t intelligent enough to pick up on that on their own – which just perpetuates the idea that only dumb people read YA or vampire books. Then, she’s not even smart enough to pull it off! When she writes from Claire’s perspective, she uses the third person: “Michael looked like the walking dead when he arrived back in the waiting room, where Claire was getting coffee for the eleven-millionth time from the machine… She almost dropped the cup when she saw the boys arrive” (343). But when she writes from other characters’ perspectives, she uses the first. In one of Michael’s chapters, she writes “I didn’t answer. I wasn’t letting Shane, or anyone, do this… maybe it was loyalty, maybe it was possessiveness. I don’t know” (328). It’s completely clunky and inconsistent. I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised or mad about it. This is coming from an author who has referenced Spongebob Squarepants in one of her books and includes inane colloquialisms like “slow your roll” (328), and she has provided me with endless hours of happy reading so I really shouldn’t be bashing her — but I really hate it when authors talk down to their readers, so I was out for blood. Bitter blood.

Basically, it was a good read. I shouted at it when characters were in peril; I cared. It did its job and now I’ll probably be able to pick a more literary book out of my looming stack. But it wasn’t rocket science (or even alchemy).

Pooka Rating: 3 out of 5 Nibbles

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About pookapicks

I'm a 20-something gal working in Children's Library Services. My likes include googly eyes, coffee, magical realism, leading Story Hours, and forcing my taste in books down people's throats. I have a pet rabbit named Moxie Crimefighter.
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2 Responses to Pooka Quick Pick: “Bitter Blood”

  1. megann31 says:

    I am similarly not finding good books to read at the moment. I have books to read, but they are not really sucking me in. Ah well. We are clearly the same person 🙂

  2. megann31 says:

    I read the vampire bunny slippers as you already had them, not wanted. They look like those Stompeez things that are on the tv, where the slippers little kids wear have moving eyes or something when you stomp. Sound effects with said vampire bunny slippers would be excellent.

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