Author: Ashely Madau
Publisher: Cambridge Press
Released: November 2012
Rating: 2 of 5 stars
Ava is a normal girl in the 1920s. One night sees her attending a wedding; an event that should be full of fun and goodwill quickly turns into one of danger instead and before she knows it she’s been turned into a vampire – except she isn’t a normal kind of vampire. Events see her leaving her sire’s home, only to return 80 years later. Someone’s after her blood, and they won’t stop until they get it.
This is a difficult review for me to write because everything really comes down to one issue: development. The ideas behind Morningside are brilliant. I really liked the idea of a half human, half vampire being – but it’s not in the way you might think. I also liked the kind of vampire that Julian was; Ashley Madau definitely has some original ideas here. Reading from Ava’s perspective was quite enjoyable because I could always get a sense of her emotions and each image was clear in my head.
For me, what we have here are the bones of a story. Disjointed scenes and ideas left me really quite confused because there was little flow and explanation; pretty much every scene and character could have done with fleshing out. Ava didn’t seem to be overly troubled by the fact she would never be able to contact her family again; she didn’t question the fact that Liam had human food in the kitchen (of which, incidentally, there was no sign of eighty years later). What also confused me somewhat was why it was her blood that the mysterious E was after. E was the sire of Liam, who had turned Ava into a vampire. While I knew that Ava’s blood was obviously different, I didn’t see how it was supposed to achieve the goal that E was chasing.
Liam was an OK character, but he was really closed-off. One minute hot, one minute cold, there was very little insight to his character. I grew attached to him only slightly, and it was a shame because what I saw of him – the true him, behind the mask – I really liked; what would have been better was to see much more of that. The same went for Julian also. In terms of what he was and what he could do – fantastic. There was some emotional insight but again, not enough. So for me, what I was seeing was this half-hearted, unexplained love triangle. Not a good combination. Because of this lack of development, I couldn’t see why Ava was interested in either of them…and I didn’t know what it was about her that pulled them in. strangely enough, though, if I had to pick, it would’ve been Liam.
There were some good scenes in here – when it comes to action, Madau knows how to make it compelling. That was when I started to actually feel what was going on. What was key here was the description. These scenes were the ones that were more fleshed out, that flowed better, that just had more detail. It would have been great to see this consistently across the book.
The ending, I think, was what sealed the deal. It felt very rushed, and there were no answers. None. No closure. Which then begs the question – what was the point of the story? If all that stuff happened, if Ava’s life was in danger and her blood was the key, surely we’re supposed to find out why? Find out what she is? Maybe, if it was written with care, it might just make sense. It might just be fair. But it was written so casually and quickly that it just didn’t sit right. Oh, and that love triangle? It’s not worth taking sides.
Overall, I found this to be really disappointing. What I was reading was ideas, and the ideas were fantastic. No question about it. But they needed developing and expanding; answers were needed for the question. The way it was wrapped up leaves no room for a sequel, though I can’t say for definite if there will or won’t be one. It just needs a whole lot of development, and had there been, I would have enjoyed this so much more.
Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.