Series or Stand Alone: Morganville Vampire series, book one
Release Date: October 2006
Publisher: NAL Jam
Author Site: http://www.rachelcaine.com/
My Rating: 4.25/5
From the author of the popular Weather Warden series comes the debut of an exciting new series set in Morganville, Texas, where you would be well advised to avoid being out after dark.
College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don't show many signs of life, but they'll have Claire's back when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood.
I should have wrote this review sooner when the book was more fresh in my mind. But of course, I didn't do that... I really enjoyed Glass Houses though. I have yet to read anything by Rachel Caine although I have the first two books in her Weather Warden series. After reading this book I think it's safe to say I'm going to enjoy her writing =)
Now we all know how popular vampire/paranormal books (especially ones with school settings) are, not only in the YA adult genre, but in all books. So it is ALWAYS a pleasure finding a novel that stands out a bit from the crowd. Glass Houses stood out for me. Even though there is a college backdrop the story isn't centered around that. It isn't centered around Claire's experiences at a "magical" school, it's about her experiences as a whole in Morganville, Texas, which is pretty much owned by vampires.
Being the first book in a series is always tough. The introduction to the world, basic plot, and it's characters sometimes makes one force themselves through it to get to the next novel. However, I didn't find Glass Houses a big disappointment as far as first-in-the-series books go. I thought character development was lacking a bit but its understandable and I'm expecting more depth in the upcoming novels. While the reader gets a basic understanding and feeling of the main characters there is still a lot to discover.
I enjoyed Claire's personality even though she has her annoying moments (but who doesn't??). She's got spunk even while being held against her will and beat up by the popular girls at the college. Claire is a genius that actually enjoys schoolwork and homework. And instead of going to MIT or Yale her parents would rather her go to a small-town college a lot closer to home. A sixteen (almost seventeen) year old freshman that would rather study than party isn't always the most popular student at school. So naturally there are those that are born to make other's lives miserable and they find Claire very quickly. I think an aspect I really enjoyed about the book is that Rachel Caine wasn't afraid to include a little violence in the novel. Not that I'm a violence junkie or enjoy reading about people getting beat up or anything but I was surprised at the lack of sugar-coating in the scenes between the mean girls and Claire. Claire gets hurt a lot in the novel and Rachel Caine wasn't afraid to tell the reader about it either. That definitely made the book stand out, especially in the YA genre.
Claire can be quite the smart-ass and I enjoyed that. Shortly after determining that her very life could be in jeopardy if she stays in the dorm she finds a place to stay at off campus with three roommates. It is with these three roommates that Claire discovers the truth of Morganville. Vampires run the show and the dynamics between said vampires and the humans they live with is very interesting. I'm excited to read more about the unique vampire heritage in upcoming books. Michael's character was definitely the most interesting and surprising. I'm eager to see how his character will do in the series. Eve is sweet although the Goth persona is a little tired. I feel her hiding behind the whole charade a little boring and I hope to see her break out of that sooner rather than later. Shane is somewhat typical as crushes go - tough, hott, a little mysterious, and secretly caring.
Overall I think Glass Houses was very good. It's filled with the creepy vampires that aren't love interests and characters that have a lot of potential to grow and develop. And I can't wait to discover all of Morganville's secrets. I'll be getting book 3 and 4 whenever I find the time to get book 2. I'm also really looking forward to Rachel's Weather Warden series and discovering if there is difference between her YA and adult writing.