Book Review: Rachel Caine’s Bitter Blood

Posted December 17, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Young Adult readers

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Rachel Caine’s Bitter Blood

Bitter Blood


Rachel Caine

urban fantasy that was published by New American Library (NAL) on November 6, 2012 and has 404 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Undone, Unknown, Ghost Town, Rachel Caine, Bite Club, Dark and Stormy Knights, Devil's Bargain, Devil's Due, Last Breath, Unseen, Hex Appeal, Unbroken, Black Dawn, Working Stiff, Two Weeks' Notice, Kiss of Death, Fall of Night, Daylighters, Kicking It, Prince of Shadows, Ink and Bone, Paper and Fire, Ash and Quill, Killman Creek

Thirteenth in The Morganville Vampires urban fantasy series for young adults and revolving around Claire Danvers, a student at Texas Prairie University in Morganville, Texas, and her housemates.

My Take

This is definitely one of the best YA urban fantasy series out there. Heck, it’s one of the best UF fantasies period. Caine really knows how to pour on the drama and tension, and it’s never false.

This time around, Caine has taken it several steps further and I am dyin’ to find out what happens in Fall of Night!! You will not believe the ending and the “freedom” the ending of Bitter Blood seems to promise for Claire!

I do love the depths Caine has created with her cast of characters as well as the twists and turns she puts them through. This one has a particular bit of drama that had me so worried…just thinking about it has me wanting to start re-reading this story already!

On a technical note, Caine has also continued using different characters’ points-of-view in telling the story. Just be sure to check the chapter title each time, although Caine does make it obvious whose voice is speaking. I rather like being able to slip into a character’s mind. It’s an intriguing way of letting us know what’s happening and very useful for the events Caine has created.

Oh, yeah, the times, they are a’changing:

“…watch your step. You get yourself hit by a car, I’ll consider you roadkill.” – a cop stopping Claire on the street.

It’s so sweet how very much Michael loves Evie. It just makes me want to cry and melt, all at the same time.

Oh, lord! Monica wants Shane to train her in self-defense! The snarky exchanges are too funny. I do love seeing Monica brought low after the years she’s spent being such a bully! Wait’ll you see what they come up with in the Monica for Mayor campaign! LMAO. I do love her silver-tipped shoes!

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s Claire who’s just too dang nice. Not a bad role model for anyone.

Whoaaa, we learn some nasty things about Myrnin’s past. Nothing really in detail, just a nightmare-fueled reminiscence. I do like Myrnin, for all his scary weirdness, and I’m hoping Caine will drop more of his back history in future installments. It’s interesting that it’s Claire his mind turns to when he’s in distress, in hope that she’ll find and rescue him. And not Amelie.

Ah, Morganville. Where dressing to hide bloodstains was just good daily planning.

Oh, man! WHAT is with all the dithering?? You never leave a bad guy alive to come back after you!!?!?!?!? They’ve certainly watched enough TV at least to know this!

It’s kind of a shame that Caine let us into the secret as early as she did. It eased a lot of the tension I was feeling, even though it did create a new set. But, at least now I felt as though there were something that could be fought against.

I love the moral values exhibited by Michael and Eve and Shane and Claire. Sure, they’re teens with all the hormonal impulses and Caine walks a nice line between teen romance and teen sex. It certainly helps that Claire has a strong will with a good sense of herself. The romance is at two different age levels in this particular story. It’s enough to make you feel the repercussions of love with the good and the bad of loving another.

I love this series for how Caine gives each of her characters good and bad sides. The truth of human nature. The truth that people can change whether its for good or ill. I’d love to get to know a Myrnin and the Glass House inhabitants in real life. Yeah, for all his nuttiness, Myrnin does have a heart hidden underneath all that tat.

The Story

There’s something in the Morganville air, and none of the Glass House inhabitants think it’s freedom. It feels more like betrayal.

So much for that honeymoon period of utter bliss that Michael and Evie were hoping for as every inhabitant in town seems intent on destroying their wedded bliss. Nor does Claire have recourse to her former Protector, for Amelie appears to be carried away by the new freedom the humans procured for her! And Oliver, well, Oliver suddenly has way too much influence over Amelie’s decisions. Choices that will push the humans to battle back.

That ID card all humans are suddenly required to carry — a Drink Me card — is certainly not helping! Nor is Myrnin’s fear any reassurance for Claire. Eek! Then there’s the official reinstitution of hunting season. And I don’t mean for deer. Finally, there’s Michael and Eve’s decision to move.

Even when Caine reveals the motivating factor behind it all…hope does not arise.

The Characters

Claire Danvers has recently turned 18, and she’s brilliant. So gifted that Amelie chose to become her Protector and assign her to Myrnin as his assistant — she’s “the least useless apprentice” he’s ever had. And she keeps saving the vampires, book after book. Her compassion and intelligence have influenced Amelie to allow her a great deal of leeway. Once. She’s been living in the Glass House with her housemates, Michael and Evie, and Shane from the start.

Shane Collins is her boyfriend and very loving and supportive of Claire. He’s all that’s left alive of his family now. Alyssa is the little sister who died in a house fire that Shane has believed Monica was complicit in while his father, Frank Collins, well, his brain is what keeps the portals and other things running in Morganville. Michael Glass was a ghost living in the Glass House, only visible and corporeal at night until Oliver turned him. A move that may have made it possible for him to be “alive” again, but he’ll never be able to take his music on the road. He’s in love with Eve Rosser, I mean, Glass — they just got married in Black Dawn, 12. It’s an extremely unpopular move amongst the vampires and the humans. Evie is a delight with her happiness in herself. I love reading Caine’s descriptions of whatever Goth garb Eve is wearing for the day. She’s a skilled barista and drives a hearse. And madly in love with Michael.

Miranda is the latest addition to the Glass House. I guess you could say she’s a voluntary housemate. She did choose to give up her life to save Claire after all, and now she’s a ghost there. And a source of trouble.

Amelie is the Founder of Morganville. Her policy towards humans has always been one of benevolence. Well, the vampire idea of magnanimity, anyway. After Black Dawn, she had confirmed her intention of implementing equal rights between vampires and humans.

Myrnin is a mad-scientist. He’s nuts, literally. He really is crazy and when combined with being absolutely brilliant AND a vampire. Well, he’s never boring. Especially when he’s wearing his fanged bunny slippers! He’s also in love with Claire. Bob the Spider is one of his pets while Frank, well, he may not be a pet, but he does require care and feeding.

Oliver has been Amelie’s nemesis in the past. Always challenging her decisions, her actions, for he hates the humans. Suddenly, he’s her lover and swaying her toward his own choices.

A recent arrival, Naomi is Amelie’s “sister” and hates humans even more than Oliver. Henrik and Pennyfeather are just some of the perfectly vicious vampires who seem to think it’s open season on the Glass House team. Jason is Eve’s brother-turned-vampire. A really bad idea as he was a psychopath in life; Marguerite and Jerold are part of his vamp-posse.

Hannah Moses is the newly appointed mayor of Morganville. Formerly the chief of police (Hannah has a military background), she got the job when Richard Morrell died in Black Dawn. Yeah, “poor” Monica Morrell. Left all alone in the world of Morganville. No influential, powerful family left to prop her up. Bitch. Gramma Day is Hannah’s grandmother. A very smart lady.

Captain Obvious is the nom de guerre for an ever-changing leader for the humans against the vampires. Flora Ramos is running the captain’s campaign for mayor with her son Enrique‘s help. Roy Farmer, Aaron, Melanie, and three other former classmates of Eve’s almost beat her to death.

Professor Carlyle is one of the instructors in her major.

Angel Salvador is one of the hosts of the television show, After Death, along with Jenna Clark. Tyler is their cameraman, and they’re in town to explore the ghostlier inhabitants. At night. It certainly makes for some interesting interaction when they discover the Glass House!

Protectors are vampires into whose “care” humans are placed. Supposedly, no vampire can harm a human protected by another vampire. That seems to be changing.

The Cover and Title

The cover had me checking to be sure I wasn’t reading a Vampire Academy story… It just doesn’t have a Morganville Vampires feel to it. It does have a close-up of Claire — wearing makeup! It’s primarily dark with a hint of fog-shrouded woods, which just doesn’t make me feel that Texas night. There’s also a brief red swirl of scrollwork drawing your attention to the name of the series.

The title is one of sibling rivalry and vampire genetics — the Bitter Blood of family.


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