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Book IV of the Morganville Vampires series, and it takes off straight from the end of instalment III. Y'know, if I had a criticism of this series, it's that the cut-off points, book to book, are a little arbitrary, but it does keep you wanting to read on...

Claire's friendship with Myrnin grows stronger in this book, however ill-advised it might seem. The Glass House quartet of Michael/Eve and Claire/Shane are adapting to Michael's status as the newest vamp in town, and Mr Bishop's arrival in town sort of heralds some kind of truce between Amelie and Oliver. I *am* wondering if Claire and Michael are going to get together, though... she does think very highly of him...

Eve's brother, Jason, is still around, lurking lurkingly - he seems to get himself mixed up in an awful lot of things, and yet never caught...

Anyway, the title refers to a 'welcome ball' that Amelie throws in honour of her father's arrival in town. This being a traditional vamp thing, it's pretty clear to the reader from the outset that it probably isn't going to be as benign as it sounds, but Claire and Eve being... well, Claire and Eve, feel rather hurt when they're both left out of proceedings. Needless to say, the two manage to wrangle things such that they're in attendance for the finale.

I'm *convinced* that Myrnin is Merlin, and although he's definitely on the crazy side, and the other vamps do seem to fear him, I kinda think he's basically OK. I rather suspect that in the story arc to come, he's going to go over to the Dark Side before coming up good in a redemption, because it'll make it a richer story than just having good vamps, bad vamps. But for that I have to read on.

Claire's voice does seem to move around a bit, book to book - I and III have similar styles, but II felt a little flat. IV seems a bit darker in tone than III, but it's still recognisably Claire. Because the books are first person Claire's PoV, we only see the action (and consequences) from her side, and although she usually manages to be in the thick of things (sometimes purposefully so), there are still times where we have to pick up events secondhand.

Anyway, 'twas a fun read, and I move onward now to Book V :D

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