The Dead Girls' Dance is the second book in The Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine.
Here's what has happened so far In Glass Houses (the first book), 16year old Claire Danvers had moved to Morganville to go to college. After being bullied in the dorms, Claire went to live with Michael, Shane and Eve at Glass House to be safer but it was then that she found out that the whole town was being run by vampires. Claire found something that the vampires desperately wanted but refused to hand it over, resulting in head vampire, Amelie promising her and her friends protection in exchange. Just when they thought everything was going back to normal, as normal as they can be in Morganville, Shane's crazy Dad arrives wanting revenge.
The Dead Girls' Dance
Claire, Michael, Shane and Eve just want a bit of peace and quiet around Glass House. They thought that when Amelie gave them protection, everything would be ok, but that was until Shane's Dad, Frank, turned up. Amelie's deal was that no more trouble would be caused but Frank is trouble with a capital T. He doesn't mess around with stating his intentions, he wants revenge on the vampires or anyone who looks remotely like one for the deaths of his daughter and wife. Unfortunately for Michael, being a ghost doesn't do him any favours.
With Frank threatening Amelie's protection, Claire and her friends must figure out a way to stop Frank and his thug sidekicks before he ruins everything that they have worked for. They manage to stay out of trouble for a couple of days but then Brandon, a well known vampire is found dead and all fingers point to Shane and his Dad (who is no where to be seen) so Shane ends up taking the rap for the whole thing, being sentenced to death by fire.
Claire, Michael and Eve need to think of a way to save Shane and fast. In two days he's going up in flames. Will they be able to do it?
What I thought
After reading Glass Houses, I was hooked to this series and I picked up Dead Girls' Dance immediately. I couldn't wait to find out what happened due to the cliff-hanger at the end of the first book.
Dead Girls' Dance wastes no time in getting straight back into the action of the story. I really liked the fact that it picked up straight from where the first book left off. Other series' that I have read seem to have some time missing between books and I always feel like I've missed out on the important, but small things that go on in-between books. Again, there were a lot of things that I didn't see coming with enough plot twists to keep me guessing all of the time. Sometimes I felt like there was a little too much going on and the plot could have been simpler. The mix of vampires and humans, who owns who and what is going on is confusing enough sometimes but then Shane's Dad was thrown in there as well. Luckily, the way Rachel Caine writes makes everything quite easy to follow most of the time.
Rachel Caine leaves us again with a really big cliff-hanger, making me want to start book 3 straight away (which I couldn't do as it was 3am). Some people may hate this though, especially if they don't have the next book waiting but I loved being left wanting a whole lot more.
There are quite a few new characters introduced in this book and they are all well tied to someone else. The connections were explained really well so I was never unsure of who came from where or what they were doing. There was a good mix of both good and bad guys, old and new and this time, the bad doesn't only comes from the vampires. Frank on his own was utterly terrifying and I couldn't help but feel sorry for Shane for having to deal with that, although I could also understand why Frank was doing what he was. The scariest thing about Frank was the fact that he was only out to do what he wanted and didn't care about anything or anyone that got in his way, including Shane. He was one of my favourites from the first book so I really didn't want to see anything bad happen to him.
I said in my review of Glass Houses that the character development wasn't quite there for me but I definitely cannot say the same about this book. So much happens to all four of the main characters that I would have been extremely upset if certain things about them didn't change.
Claire really grew in this book from being a quite naïve 16 year old to being more mature and sure of herself. She still isn't extremely confident but has a quiet strength about her which was really nice to see. Living away from her parents and with people of similar age really does Claire a lot of good because she has to learn to fend for and look after herself. Shane is the first boyfriend she has ever had (I think. It isn't stated otherwise) and she obviously cares about him a lot, which shows very clearly when he is put in prison. Claire's intelligence is also shown a lot more this time around which was something that I found quite interesting. Her being as clever as she is, is the whole reason why she is in Morganville in the first place so for her to not be able to think and plan out well just wouldn't have made much sense.
Due to Shane being in prison for a good amount of the story, I missed him. His personality and banter with Michael brings a lot of humour when there is so much seriousness going on and it was a shame that this was missing for such a long time. The small amount of time that he does get though shows a lot about where his character is going. Although Shane seemed like the typical, moody teenage boy to begin with, I can see that there is a lot more depth to him, largely due to things that have happened in his past. He does think that he has a certain image to uphold though and doesn't want anyone else to see what is really underneath.
I was glad to see the relationships between Shane and Claire and Eve and Michael progress a little more but some parts just didn't make sense to me. As Claire is under the legal age (17), Shane has decided and made a promise that they wont have sex, even though it is obvious that they both really want to. I know that this is supposed to make him look like the gentleman and be all chivalrous but I just didn't believe it. So many teenage couples have sex before it is legal and this is why it didn't feel all that real to me. I do understand though that the author is probably trying to teach young people a lesson in this department and also wanted to make Shane be the good guy. I have to say though that there was quite a lot of built up tension between the two and it left me wondering how long it is going to be before anything really happens between the two.
Even though this is a YA novel, there were some parts that I didn't think very suitable for anyone under the age of at least 15 or so. The aspects of violence, date rape and sex were quite large parts of the story and something that I don't think anyone too young should be reading about. I do think that this series is aimed at a slightly older audience than most YA fantasy novels. There is also some swearing but I would expect that from teenagers in a situation such as Claire, Shane, Michael and Eve's. The swearing isn't overdone though and it is in context to what is going on in the story.
To even have a chance of following this book, you will need to have read Glass Houses otherwise you will be incredibly lost. I don't think that any of these books are going to be able to stand on their own but it isn't something that bothers me. I like having to read the characters background and have the chance to really get to know and feel for them.
Dead Girls' Dance is a fantastic sequel in this series and was everything and more than what I was expecting. If you haven't read this series yet then you need to go out and buy book one ASAP!! I can't recommend them highly enough.