Rachel Caine, or Roxanne Longstreet Conrad as she is known to her friends, is a prolific writer. From what I have read of her writing (Morganville series, one Weather Warden and one The Revivalist) her novels seem to target young adults (not the youngest).
Her books are fun to read and full of murder, mayhem and entertainment. We get all sorts of magic and supernatural creatures. Some of these supernaturals are the baddest baddies while some fight on the side of light and justice for all. There is something a bit soap operaish about the books at times, but for the most part they manage to stay out of that trap. The ones that I have read are from: Weather Warden, The Morganville Vampires and The Revivalist.
THE MORGANVILLE VAMPIRES (2006 – 2013)
The Morganville Vampires books are supposed to be appropriate for age 13 and up. My library has fourteen of them while fifteen have been published thus far. According to the Morganville website no. 15 (Daylighters) is supposed to be the last one of the series (for now). I believe I have read through no. 10 (Bite Club).
The Morganville series begins with Glass Houses.While it is an advantage to begin reading with book no. 1 of the series, I would have had no trouble starting at any point as all of the novels have some sort of resolution to their plot. There are threads that leave you somewhat hanging but they are more of the kind that you will find in most series out there. So NOT a serial.
Claire Danvers is our main character through the series. There are others that get to shine along with her, but she is the one we always meet.
What can I say about Claire Danvers? Claire is a brilliant girl. Her IQ gets her into Texas Prarie University at the age of 16. Choosing TPU was a result of having to be closer to her parents. I can understand her parents wanting her to be a close as possible. Being the parent of two boys who have been that age, I probably would have let them go to the offered spot at MIT. Whether my choice would have been different had they been girls is impossible to predict.
So off Claire goes to Morganville. TPU is apparently a typical university town. In it she meets both ends of the spectrum of niceness. Claire gets bullied by the town diva, Monica Morell, and makes friends with the much nicer Eva Rosser. Her friendship with Eva Rosser and the bullying by Morell and her crowd is what brings about Claire’s move into what is known as Glass House.
Glass House belongs to Michael Glass. Michael lives in the house himself and he is hesitant about letting Claire live there. The other tenant, Shane Collins, also worries about having an under-age student living with them. The constellation two boys and two girls might have something to do with that. I found that rather charming and wise of the two guys. I also approved of the choice of letting Claire live with them, especially considering Monica’s influence at TPU. Monica does not have many endearing qualities.
Moving into Glass House brings the reality of Morganville crashing in on Claire. Living in Morganville can be detrimental to one’s health.
WEATHER WARDEN (2003-2010)
The Weather Warden series begins with Ill Wind and ends with Total Eclipse. According to various reviews and Ms. Caine’s own website the Weather warden is meant for an adult audience. I have only read no. 1 (Ill Wind). It is difficult for me to know exactly what differentiates a novel meant for adults or older young adults, so I am going to trust the author on this one. On the link above you can read samples from each of the novels.
Ill Wind introduces Joanne Baldwin a Weather Warden. A Weather Warden is a person who has the power to control one of the elements. In Joanne’s case that is the wind. She is not considered an especially gifted Warden. When we meet her she is on the run from the other Weather Wardens and the Weather Council. The Weather Council wields a lot of influence in society due to its nature. Together with the UN they decide when to and when not to intervene in natural disasters (having to do with wind, fire, water and earth). So, not an organization to have chasing you.
Joanne is, of course, innocent of all charges and that is what Ill Wind is about – proving her innocence and finding the real culprit.
As a mystery, Ill Wind worked for me.
THE REVIVALIST (2011 – …)
Once again you get to read sample chapters of the novels. The Revivalist is a different kind of zombie novel. As with Weather Warden, I have only read the first of the series, Working Stiff. Like the other two series in this post, The Revivalist is an urban fantasy series. Our main character is Bryn Davies. She is about to change careers – from being in a military supply unit in war to being a funeral director. An unusual choice but work is work.
At first Fairview Mortuary seems like an average funeral home. But there is one huge problem. Her bosses are experimenting on the corpses. Not all of them, but enough for Bryn to discover that there is a problem. It turns out that they are using a drug to resurrect the dead. Bryn enlists the help of the FBI and joins the take-down. During the charge, poor old Bryn ends up being one of the dead. Having no say in the matter herself (being dead and all that) Bryn ends up being one of the resurrected. At this point her options in “life” pretty much become nil. She has to do what she is told or she will not get the daily injection needed for a healthy look.
Basically, Working Stiff is an urban fantasy mystery with a zombie twist.