“With her boss preoccupied researching the Founder Houses in Morganville, student Claire Danvers is left to her own devices when she learns that three vampires have vanished without a trace. She soon discovers that the last person seen with one of the missing vampires is someone new to town-a mysterious individual named Magnus. After an uneasy encounter with Morganville’s latest resident, Claire is certain Magnus isn’t merely human. But is he a vampire-or something else entirely?”
With long-running series, it stands to reason that at least one book will rank lower than the others, and that holds true for me: Ghost Town and Bite Club were not duds, per se, but they induced a regrettable sense of hesitancy regarding the future of the series. It would be going too far to say that Last Breath wowed me, but it did, in turn, startle me, worry me and, finally, took a sizeable bite out of the hesitance left in the wake of the last two books. Was Last Breath great? No. But it was pretty dang good.
Rachel Caine excels at keeping the reader off balance. Her Morganville books are no exception; they rely on no holds-barred, cojones to the wall plot lines that will – and inevitably do – run over your favorite characters with all the crushing force of a tank. Nothing is sacred. No one is safe. And the resultant tension is only one reason fans of the series keep coming back for more. This time around, Caine topped her personal best in the Take That! category. Last Breath also sets-up the next chapter in the lives of Claire, Shane, Eve and Michael, and, from where I’m sitting, the inkling we get of what’s in store for the quartet has the potential to elevate this series back to its initial glory.
So what did I like about this installment, gasp-inducing twists aside? First and foremost, Myrnin. That vampire has a troubling affect on my heart; in this book he didn’t just break it, he shredded it. If Caine – who has in recent books given characters other than Claire chapters from their perspective – were to let me inside of Myrnin’s head, the time spent there would do more than tear at my heart: it would make me fall to pieces entirely, I’m sure. It goes without saying, then, that I fiercely covet his perspective, even if it spans no more than a single page.
A look at Myrnin from Shane’s POV:
“He just stood there, Claire’s sad, crazy, manic boss with his handsome pale face and lunatic eyes and stupid damn bunny slippers that had always made her smile.”
I read that sentence so many times I lost count. I got all quivery each time, too. Because with the sad comes his delight; with the crazy comes his sharp intelligence; and with the manic comes his vulnerability. And then there’s his devotion to Claire. The handsome pale face, lunatic eyes, and bunny slippers are just icing on a dynamic, delicious cake.
What else? Shane. Always Shane. And a paragraph on the last page that merited a deep, contented sigh.
There was one thing, though, regarding the alternating perspectives: I kept asking myself, why now? Granted, Shane got a few chapters in the last book, Bite Club, and Claire remained the focus of the majority of Last Breath, but…It’s odd, isn’t it, that Caine decided to utilize multiple points of view ten books into the series? And are we to take away that this formula will remain in place for the remainder of the books in the series? Just a few idle thoughts that distracted me after I’d finished the book.
In the end, it’s nice to be left once again greatly anticipating the next book in the series. That said, Black Dawn, you had best give me more Myrnin, preferably from his own dangerously unstable point of view.