Review: Last Breath by Rachel Caine
There is a question Claire has long been asking: why do vampires live so far out in a sunny desert when they’re sensitive to sunlight? The reason doesn’t have to do with sunlight but water – and an ancient enemy who has finally found a way to invade the vampires’ landlocked community. Vampires aren’t the top predator on earth. There’s something worse that preys on them …something much worse. Which means if Claire, and Morganville, want to live, they will have to fight on to the last breath.
Last Breath (The Morganville Vampires #11) by Rachel Caine
**Warning: This review contains SPOILERS!**
Gelatinous vampire goo. Gelatinous vampire goo. I can’t get over it. This is so…wrong. I’m hoping this new enemy is part of Caine’s endgame. We’ve had 11 books and perhaps she’s running out of ideas even though the final book, #15 is due out in November 2013. It certainly feels like the end run.
A type of ultimate vampire, the Draug have a seductive call like sirens, need water to survive and breed, can reduce themselves to vampire goo which if you get any on you, will suck the blood/life out of you. They can remain invisible to the naked eye and easily traps their prey, human or vampire, storing them in water until they’re dead. On top of this, these guys are hard to kill.
Due to past encounters, Morganville’s vampires are so scared they plan to abandon the town and run. Of all things, I did not expect them to run from something they’d spent decades building. I understand a new foe was needed after the long awaited and much required death of Bishop but I did believe they’d learned to stand and fight rather than to submit to fear and flee. I was severely disappointed by Amelie’s response.
Amelie + Oliver
A kiss between them was to be expected though I didn’t expect Amelie to lose IQ points in the process. Killing Claire and Shane -not a good idea. I can’t believe Oliver had to step in and change her mind. Her manipulation of Myrnin when it came to this was appalling. Her actions destroyed previously strong relationships. Shane and Claire have been huge assets and her fear of this new enemy has turned her into a coward. That’s not what we’ve come to expect of her.
Oliver has always been in favour of fighting and in that respect he’s very like Shane (they wouldn’t react kindly to that comparison) but he balances out Amelie’s need to protect and retreat. They make a good ruling pair. I hope Amelie gets a magical cure for her fatal Draug bite because Oliver as sole ruler of Morganville would be terrifying.
Oh, the melodrama. Why do they have to get married right this minute? I understand the tenuous nature of their relationship due to Micheal’s undead status: unable to give Eve children and will most likely outlive her, remaining 18 forever but no one is stopping them from “living in sin”. I really didn’t care about the drama and political fallout from this mixed marriage between a human and a vamp. It ate up too many pages, boring me so much I kept putting the book down and avoiding picking it back up. If anything I’d have preferred someone kidnap Eve to try and turn her to end the prejudice, arguments and tears.
Main Character Death
I instantly knew this was a temporary predicament. A cheap move. A quick and quiet death with no one around to witness it. A few character’s reactions were notable though. Shane’s reaction was the most extreme but also quite understandable. He’d lost everyone he’d ever loved and he was tired of fighting when there nothing left to fight for. Claire was a reassuring presence in the Glass House, she ensured everyone kept their heads and made sound decisions, her diplomatic clout with the powers-that-be also ensured the Glass House members’ survival so her death would leave a huge hole in their lives.
It also became obvious why we get multiple POVs in this book which I think was done to better effect when it was just Claire and Shane in Bite Club. Here it added little in terms of character development but is required in order to get every side of the story.
Claire + Michael
Michael admits he once thought about Claire in a…romantic sense.
Claire + Myrnin
Claire discovers Myrnin does feel more than just friendship. It may or may not be love but he wants her as a permanent companion.
Claire + Shane
We leave them in a strong position. I can see these two marrying and spending the rest of their lives together. They have staying power. They work at their relationship, really work at it, and I think this makes them good role models for the teenage audience this is aimed at. Too many couples these days are only too willing to walk away when things get tough. However, I’m not a fan of the cringe-worthy mushiness Caine keeps shoving in our faces. They love each other, it shows. Please, don’t go overboard.
The Usual Humour, Excellent As Always
Myrnin pumping a sawed-off shotgun ‘with unsettling enthusiasm’ and calling “Let’s go hunting, shall we?”
Michael to Shane: “And you know if you screw it up with Claire, I’ll rip your throat out and drink you like a juice box.”
I admired Eve’s willingness to cut a bitch (i.e. Monica): “Micheal is missing. He may be dying. I am not in the mood for your shallow bullshit right now. If you get in my way, I will cut you, because you are nothing but a speed bump on my way to saving him. Are we clear?”
Although I am a long term fan of this series this is the lowest rating I’ve given and the closest I’ve come to DNF-ing one of these books. I find this troubling considering we have four more books before the end.
I believe Caine’s heavy reliance on Bishop as a villian to bring ultimate fear to the residents of Morganville has left me distinctly unimpressed by this new foe despite their obviously lethal attributes.
For me, I think perhaps a threat from within would’ve provided more intrigue because we’ve done the “invasion by outsiders” thing with Bishop and to be honest it was done to death. Magnus appears to be Bishop with a new name.
In my opinion, Caine has taken the easy road by using predictable devices such as killing off a main character and magically reviving them, taking past situations and reusing them. If an author can’t come up with fresh stories then it’s time to stop producing them.
I still love the series. I’m determined to see it to the end but I hope Caine can inject fresh ideas into Black Dawn.
Included Short Story
In my UK edition there was a short story, “Anger Management” set between Bite Club and Last Breath from Shane’s POV, detailing Shane’s mandatory counselling with Dr. Theo Goldman, where he’s challenged to refrain from becoming angry and use non-violent methods whenever possible for 24 hours. It’s not a necessary read but it was enjoyable, especially his encounter with Monica.
Sample chapters available HERE.
“Marriage is a big word for all guys,” Shane said. “You know that. It’s kind of an allergy. We get itchy and sweaty just trying to spell it, much less do it.”
Posted on November 6, 2011, in 2✰, by Ames, Morganville Vampires, Rachel Caine, Urban Fantasy (+ bit'o romance), Young Adult and tagged New in 2011, Next-in-Series, Read in 2011, Sneak Peek. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.