Midnight Alley (book 3 of the Morganville Vampires) by Rachel Caine

This is book 3 of the young adult series about vampires in the college town of Morganville by Rachel Caine (author of the urban fantasy series of Weather Warden books).

This series keeps the focus on four friends who live together in Morganville at the Glass House, but the youngest one – Claire Danvers is the main protagonist. Claire is a college student who, because of her intelligence started college early, and she soon discovers that Morganville is a unique place – it's run by vampires. While most people who were raised in Morganville know this secret, temporary visitors, like many of the college students, do not. Claire stumbles on the secret in book 1, and soon finds herself embroiled in the intruige and politics that stem from humans coexisting with the supernatural. Everyone has a secret – all her roommates have pasts that have been affected by the vampires, and Claire is soon tangled up with their problems as well as those of the vampires.

Book 1 deals with Claire moving into town, discovering the secret and meeting her roommates Michael, Shane, and Eve. In book 2, vampire slayers come to town and chaos ensues. In book 3 some more secrets are revealed and Claire gets more and more involved with the mysterious vampires. It's pretty difficult to talk about it without spoilers, but again much of the tension stems from humans resisting the vampires and vampire against vampire politics and secrets. Claire gets quite involved because of a relationship with the oldest vampire in town and founder of Morganville. This relationship makes Claire the target of people with hidden agendas and causes tension with her roommates. A lot of what drew me into the book was the constant danger that Claire is in. I found her to be an intelligent person who was also pretty naive. She often is really emphatic and nice – to people who maybe she shouldn't be nice to. There were a few instances in this book where I think she begins to realize that while she sees something like humanity and flashes of sympathy from the vampires, in reality her life and the lives of many humans is meaningless and expendable to them. I'm curious to see how the author is going to resolve this problem – whether these creatures deserve a "happy" ending for the series. I am not sure what will happen – if Claire and her friends survive, I doubt the it will be without cost. Claire's reactions to things sometimes seemed inconsistent (like she is unmarred by what she has gone through and is way too forgiving or sometimes doing things that seem dumb after being told over that she's smart), but I've been able to ignore this for the story.

For those of you familiar with Caine's books, you may realize that this author enjoys cliffhanger endings. I noticed this trend in not only the Morganville books, but also in the Weather Warden series. There's always a "to be continued" aspect. Once I got used to it I haven't been bothered by this, and I found that book 1 (Glass Houses) had the most edge of your seat ending, though book 2 and 3 do make you want to get the next book. Some readers may find the episodic nature of the books aggravating.

My review of book 2 is here.

Excerpt of book 1, Glass Houses

Excerpt of book 2, The Dead Girls Dance

Excerpt of book 3, Midnight Alley

Book 4 – Feast of Fools, comes out June this year.

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