Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Betrayed by Morgan Rice, Book 3 of the Vampire Journals series

After the last book, Caitlin wakes up as a vampire half way through her change. But the world has no time to wait for her to adapt to her new state. The evil vampire Kyle has the Sword of power they had fought so hard for. With this sword he can take over the Blacktide coven and from there expand his war against all humanity and the benevolent vampires. Already, thousands of vampires rage through the plagued streets of New York.

Caleb cannot afford to wait for Caitlin and has to leave her with friends while he goes to try and protect his home and the White coven –but they cannot part on easy terms as Sera, Caleb’s ex-wife, is determined to drive a wedge between them.

While Caitlin learns to adapt to her new form while at the same time mastering her painful emotions over Caleb, Caleb is faced with the suicidal task of stopping the Blacktide Coven

Meanwhile, Sam, Caitlin’s brother  is still with Samantha, a vampire of the Blacktide Coven. Still trying to redeem herself from her failure, Samantha is forced to turn Sam into a vampire – and they both most work at surviving as members of the Blacktide Coven in less than good standing

I have to say that the writing of this book was such a barrier to any kind of enjoyment. People don’t speak, they have speeches – seriously, people can’t have a conversation they have to take it in terms to declaim several paragraphs at each other. It’s like a series of monologues. The writing itself is very very overwritten, exacerbated by Caitlin’s habit of having epicly long emotional  internal monologues that we are treated to constantly to a point where I either wish Caitlin would just go get drunk or I could. The writing is florid, purple and horribly over-written and this already short book could have been much much shorter if the excess description, excess “plot” points, the cumbersome dialogue and the endless emotional maundering were curbed.

And the characters? So much melodrama! So much angst!  The bad guy virtually twirls his moustache and ties young women to train tracks – he spreads plague! He cements his minion’s loyalty by making them kill their loved ones (is that supposed to work?). The good guys are so pure and noble – Caleb and Samuel are willing to sacrifice themselves like the noble good warriors they are! The staid leaders of the White Coven are so conservative and inactive they may as well be statues buried upside down so their heads are in the sand. New York is being ripped apart by the Blacktide Coven and their plan is to pretend it isn’t happening.

On Vampire High School (Pollopel Island, but, really Vampire Highschool is easier and sums up everything you need to know about the place without me having to describe it), where Caitlin goes to hang out we have a selection of non-entities who do nothing except love and adore Caitlin. Oh and Polly, who exists to provide pointlessly long exposition. Seriously, she’s like a walking Wikipedia that won’t shut up and is extra extra perky. She lives to info-dump.

And Caitilin! She loves Caleb (a man she’s known for, maybe, 2 weeks?) so much that she just cannot face the horrendous possibility of immortality without him! And she spends enarly every moment wondering whether he lvoes her, whether he loves her enough, whether he will love her tomorrow and oh, how terrible she hasn’t said she loved him yet, she needs to say it more! Oh woe and love! Oh woe and love! But wait – she sees him with his ex-wife standing within 6 feet of him?! THE BETRAYAL! The pain! The heartache!!!!  Wait, maybe her grossly over-emotional, over-reaction may have been just a tad excessive? I know  maybe she could return and… she kissed him! BETRAYAL! ANGST! PAIN WOE HEARTACHE! No, there will be no explanations, he is officially dead to her and the world is over, over I say! PAIN WOE HEARTBREAK! And he sends her a letter! But she’s too heartbroken to read it! It could contain something like a very obvious, perfectly sensible explanation and we can’t have that now, can we? And besides there’s this boy at Vampire Highschool and she’s seen him, like twice and she may looove him! In fact, the time she spends in Vampire Highschool may be brief, but she manages to angst her way around 2, if not 3 possible love-triangles for extra angst

Frankly, Caitlin makes Romeo and Juliet seem a little staid and unemotional. 

Then we go to her brother, Sam. Samantha (I think they were running out of names), the evil vampire loooves him after knowing this 15 year old for, oh, 3, 4 days? Loves him enough to sacrifice her eternal life for him! And he becomes a vampire – and that makes him barely able to communicate and a ball of violent rage – and this makes her love him even more! But alas, he may never forgive her because she tricked him (did she? She told you what to do and you did it? I don’t think “go kill your sister” is subtle, manipulation here) angst woe angst angst.

In the midst of all this angst and heavy emotion, there is little story to tease out. But when you do… it’s kind of not worth it. And most of it is a direct product of the ridiculously over-done characters.

The bad guys have the super sword and they are very bad and the sword is very super. Caleb, being so very very good goes on a suicide mission and is, predictably captured. Caitlin throws off her angst because she loves Caleb and rushes to the rescue – virtually alone. Yes it’s suicidal but she doesn’t care because she loooooves him. And lo, people die in the suicide mission (the surprise! It shocks me!) And we are SAD and angst lade because even though they’ve hated each other since book 1 they were friends in the end! WOOOOOOOE! But it’s ok Caitlin is a super vampire (and called a trained soldier after the, uh, 4 days she spends at Vampire Highschool being hit with swords) and Sam is super vampire! But Sam is tricked and hurts Caitlin (woe) and then Caitlin make a terrible, grievous mistake! I won’t ruin it but suffice it to say that it involves angst, woe and heartbreak.

Oh and the super special evil sword that was the entire point of the last book? Kyle, the big bad guy (no, really, the big bad guy is called Kyle. The evil tens of thousands year old vampire is called Kyle. Am I the only one who can’t really see “Kyle” as a great name for super villains?) gives the sword to the brand new vampire Sam, so Sam can prove his loyalty. Sam drops it in a fit of angst where it is claimed by Caitlin. Who then… drops it in a fit of angst. Seriously, can someone hold on to this super powerful war-winning weapon already?

The plot could have been epic but it was too laden with angst, poor writing and damn foolish decisions that I couldn’t even begin to enjoy it.

I hate to be too cruel reviewing a book but this was painful.  I suffered reading this book. It’s books like this that make me feel guilty for not finishing Sunshine. And it's at this point that I look at the remaining 3 books in the series and I think there's not much point of me going any further since i think my opinion on the series is unlikely to change and I most certainly am not enjoying myself