The QWC/Hachette Manuscript Development Program has just been launched again. I’m looking forward to taking another stab at it.
Nothing really happened in between that I couldn’t easily pick up though – or after reading book nine, feel I needed to go back for.
The only thing to note was that Ada, the computer/brain that controlled the town’s portals and made people forget about vampires when they left town, had died or otherwise been ‘put down’.
That, of course, gave rise to the main plot of Ghost Town. With no machine to wipe memories, Morganville’s vampires have an exposure problem – and following an accident, Clare (something of a science prodigy) is forced to build them a new machine.
Ghost Town is a ‘problem of the week’ story and plays on the status quo of the town: vampires in control, humans doing their best not to get eaten or otherwise killed, and Clare and her friends in the middle of the latest crisis to beset the town.
That means the Reset Button is well and truly at play in the world of Morganville.
If you’re unfamiliar with the dreaded reset button – it means that by the end, things pretty much go back to how they were at the start. This shouldn’t surprise you if you’ve read the series up to this point.
After nine books however, it’s starting to feel tired. The premise is that the machine Clare builds to replace Ada gets some wires crossed and begins making people inside the town forget the last three years – some even go crazy.
That creates a big problem for Clare – she wasn’t in town three years ago, so people don’t remember her, particularly the vampires she works for.
That makes it difficult (and dangerous) to convince them the machine’s broken, or that she’s the only one who can fix it.
Soon enough, Clare is neck deep in it and struggling to survive. Considering the number of books in the series, you shouldn’t have to guess how it turns out. Still, Rachel Caine does know how to keep you cheering for the good guys.
While Ghost Town didn’t draw me in as much as the earlier books, it’s still decent, and certainly a cut above many of the other ‘vampire chick lit’ books around.
The first six are highly recommended.
You can see an interview with Rachel Caine here on fandelion.com.
The first Tuesday of every month I attend the CSFG Novel Writing Group. We had a good time discussing our current projects and where they were at, and then moved onto the subject of structure.
Following on from that we watched the Tim Minear DVD: Breaking the Story, which is all about how to develop a story based around the characters and the emotional impact you need to generate to keep people interested in your story.
Funny thing is, while I like werewolves, I’m not much of a ‘traditional werewolf’ fan – the kind of werewolf that goes nuts on a full moon and usually ends up dead (Wolfman, anyone?).
Thankfully, Bitten doesn’t fall into formula.
This isn’t a Twilight version of a werewolf story either. This is an ‘in your face’, get kicked where it hurts kind of novel.
The story begins with Elena Michaels, the only female werewolf (genetics mean the werewolf gene doesn’t pass to female offspring – instead, she’s one of the rare survivors of a werewolf bite), doing her best to live a normal life with her human boyfriend, away from ‘the Pack’.
Nevermind that her boyfriend doesn’t have a clue about her true nature, or that the Pack are the authority in the werewolf world – she’s looking escape her past.
Her ‘normal life’ means a job and boyfriend, but that gets a whole lot trickier when her pack is threatened and she’s obliged to help out.
Doing her duty, unfortunately, means returning to the Pack and facing her former boyfriend, Clay, the werewolf who bit her. Clay, naturally, wants her back, and he’s the werewolf all other werewolves fear.
It’s not long after she turns up on ‘home turf’ that human bodies begin getting dumped on Pack land and Pack members start turning up dead.
Yep, there’s a power struggle erupting, and Elena’s landed right in the middle of it – and did I mention her ex wants her back?
While the story and characters are engaging and the book hard to put down, the real story is Elena’s struggle with her werewolf nature and her place in the world.
She doesn’t want to be a werewolf, and definately doesn’t want to be drawn back into the Pack and werewolf politics, but if she ever wants a normal life, she’s going to have to deal with both.
And that’s what makes Bitten so good.
The story forces you to care about Elena and what happens to her – and that as much as anything else makes Bitten worth the read.