Carpe Corpus by Rachel Caine
This novel picks up where the fifth book in the series, Lord of Misrule, left off, with the evil Bishop in control of Morganville. Several weeks have passed, however, and the mind control trance that Claire seemed to be in at the end of that book didn’t turn out to rob her of her will in the way I’d feared. She’s got a creepy tattoo that allows Bishop to give her orders, but that’s about it. There are evacuations, discoveries about the vampires’ virus, plots within plots to take down Bishop and his gang, and a fun new character is introduced: Ada, a steampunk vampire computer.
My favorite thing about the book was that there was an actual sex scene! Claire and Shane finally did it. I liked that it seemed so realistic and true to the way I think (hope) most girls lose their virginity: in the context of a safe, loving relationship. I especially liked the way Shane asked her a lot of questions, how he cared about her consent and her pleasure. And there were no horrible consequences to teach them that sex is bad and wrong. No one got pregnant or an STD or murdered. Although of course her parents had to find out about it almost immediately, and her father actually suggested that Shane be arrested, only to find out that since Claire is 17 and of the legal age of consent, no crime has been committed. I still don’t see the point of giving them any space in the story to articulate their Victorian-age point of view.
I’m kind of conflicted about whether or not to pick up the next book in the series. This one has an ending that rounds the series out fairly well. There is a happy ending and a sense that things will be better in Morganville with the newly re-established regime. Several narrative threads were tied off neatly in this volume. I’m tempted to leave Claire and the others where they are, as I haven’t been enjoying the series a ton, and it seems to be one of those interminable series that often get worse as they drag on.