Vampire novels give the author an opportunity to explore themes of immortality by spanning time, placing the character(s) into various historical contexts. As such, vampire novels can stray deep into historical fiction territory. I really enjoyed Blood and Ice, for example, with its description of the Crimean War and Florence Nightingale in the past with present day Antarctica. The Historian interweaves wonderfully with Balkan history. For Suzie and the Monsters I enjoyed researching sixteenth century Venice and eighteenth century London.
Morningside has one foot in 1928 and the other in the present, but little attempt has been made to describe the earlier period. Indeed, it seems to serve as some random point in the past, anchored only by references to peanut butter, chlorinated pools and coffee makers. To be fair, the book is almost as vague about the present day setting, and this is all perhaps deliberate, creating a detached unreality that blends nicely with the poetic beauty of the writing.
Here are a couple of quotes from Morningside that I really like:
And that’s what I was, a monster. There would forevermore be a struggle between the humanity in me, and the destructive superhuman entity.
And, after colliding with a tree at high speed:
The noise following the collision had to have been colossal. Wood chips scattered themselves at the base of the tree; an impression of my body housed itself in the tree trunk.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Morningside because I loved the writing. The story itself left me unsatisfied and rather frustrated.
I even liked the originality of the vampires in the story, but I’m also disappointed. Her reaction to her transformation from human to vampire is… well, without fear or disbelief. ‘Out-of-character calmness,’ as she herself says later. This ought to be a key moment in the story. And since she’s capable of sustaining herself on human food, she never really needs to confront the darker side of her nature.