The Dead Girls’ Dance (Morganville Vampires, book 2) by Rachel Caine

This is Rachel Caine's (author of the Weather Warden books) young adult series. It's in the third person but follows the story of Claire, a young college student going to school at what turns out to be a town run by vampires. Claire lives with 3 other teens (Shane, Michael and Eve) in a unusual house. The three others are all older than Claire and grew up in Morganville, and they all know more about the town and it's history than Claire does, but everyone seems to have some secrets and history with the vamps. As time goes on, power plays amongst the vampires (themselves very interesting and complex characters), end up involving these friends who want to be free of vampire control. Book 1 dealt with Claire's move to Morganville, meeting the other teens and learning about the vampires, and book 2 continues with some trouble that they run into when vampire-slayers come to town.

Caine explains a lot of things that I'd question. For example the "Vampires running a whole town? How does that work?" question: not everyone living in Morganville even realize there are vampires there, and through some sort of magic, people forget about the vampires by the time they leave Morganville. The police and mayor are largely controlled by the vampires, but there are rules between human and vamp – who is under protection, who is fair game, what's allowed and what's not. It's a very interesting premise and the story is never dull, one surprise follows another and there is a lot of action going on. I did notice that the author likes to end her books with cliffhangers, so the series is addictive, but if you hate cliffhangers, make sure you have book 2 around if you start reading book 1. Book 2 ends with a much smaller surprise. Meanwhile the heroine is smart and thoughtful while sounding like a teenager. I'm glad this is not another "teen girl with bubblegum brains falling for a vampire" story. The book has surprising depth, and even bad guys seem to have another side (my favorite example of this in The Dead Girls' Dance is at the title dance). There are three books out so far and a forth one coming out in June 08.

Rachel Caine's Morganville page

Excerpt of Book 1 – Glass Houses

Excerpt of Book 2 – The Dead Girl's Dance

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