Sunday, November 01, 2009

Vampire Kisses 5: The Coffin Club by Ellen Schreiber

After Raven and Alexander had captured Valentine, their vampire nemesis from the last book, Alexander left town to return Valentine to his siblings. He had to leave town, but he promised Raven that he would soon return for her.

Now, even though he left in February, it's the end of the school year, and Alexander isn't back yet. So Raven calls up the Coffin Club in nearby Hipsterville, where her aunt lives, and finds out that Jaeger is living there, in the apartment above the Coffin Club, a hangout for Goth hipsters like Raven.

So she goes to visit her aunt, and finds that things have changed. Her aunt now has a job in real estate, and wears a blazer on the job. But luckily, she's still the same hipster aunt underneath that Raven knows and loves. And it's because of her aunt that she finds out where Alexander is staying in Hipsterville- though not why.

With her aunt, she attends a teen party at the Coffin Club, although she's already visited on her own and found a secret club beneath the Coffin Club. This one caters only to Vampires, and Raven finds herself being just as accepted in this club as she is in the regular Coffin Club above, making friends with two girls, Onyx and Scarlet.

But trouble is brewing. The Coffin Club is undergoing a difference in leadership. Under Jaeger, the club would be used as the Headquarters for a new kind of play, one with humans as prey. However, a vampire known simply as Phoenix wants the club to remain as it is, a place for vampires to hang out. But what do the other vampires want: Humans as prey, or a place where humans like Raven might just end up being their friends?

Meanwhile, Raven finds out that her aunt has a boyfriend, and he seems pretty cool, though at first, Raven isn't sure if he's a vampire or not.But there's a greater surprise when Raven finds out that Alexander has entered some of his paintings in an art show in Hipsterville. And he wins the show. Could this mean greater things for Alexander? He reveals to Raven that his father is an art dealer, but he's never showed his father his art- he's content to remain a dabbler, even if Raven (and now, others) think his art is completely amazing.

But what will happen to Hipsterville if the Vampires from the Coffin Club decide to take humans as prey. And what will happen when they find out that Raven is a human? Will they kill her for infiltrating their club? When she's chased by some of them, she has to rely on Phoenix for help. But can she trust this vampire she doesn't know? And why does she feel strangely attracted to him?

Another excellent book in the series. Here, after some early problems, we finally get to see Alexander and Raven spending some time together. But the question remains- why has he stayed away from her for so long? He acknowledges fairly early on that he sent Valentine home, so why is he staying in Hipsterville? Raven isn't sure, because Alexander isn't supplying many answers. When the art show comes up, she wonders if that is why Alexander stayed. But what's the real reason.

I also liked that this book gave us an alternate explanation for crop circles- vampires make them to let other vampires know that they are there. It was a very cute idea, but I didn't really find it believable, even in the context of the story. Wouldn't there be better ways to communicate, especially now, with the internet? And why are there no records of this sort of thing in the past? Maybe I was over-analyzing it, but it didn't seem feasible to me- and it kicked me out of the story pretty hard.

But it was a minor point, and I did enjoy the book anyhow. I enjoy this series a lot, even though I have a feeling that Raven will actually be ending up with Trevor at the end of it, and not Alexander. I hope I'm wrong, but I feel conflicted by what Raven feels and how she seems to be warming to Trevor a bit with every book. And I have to say that maybe that's where she should be looking. We still have no idea how vampires age or if they are immortal- and if they don't age, Raven is going to have a problem staying with Alexander as she out-ages him. And with Alexander refusing to bite her, well... that might not end well. But I'm sufficiently intrigued to want to keep reading. Recommended.

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