Title: Glass Houses
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: The Morganville Vampires, #1
Format: Paperback, owned
My rating: 3.5 / 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. Will she be able to face the town's terror or will she drown like everyone else?
-- As seen on Goodreads
I noticed some not so favourable reviews for Glass Houses, and after my little disaster with Carrier of the Mark a few weeks back, my expectations were quite low. I’m so relieved to say I was pleasantly surprised. I could poke holes in a few things, but you know what, I enjoyed the story enough to overlook them. I don’t want an overly formulistic version of our reality superimposed over a paranormal backdrop. It is fiction after all! Leave reality at the door… or the first page.
I’m a bit confused about which age-genre Glass Houses best falls into – Young Adult or New Adult. We have a sixteen year old protagonist, so that gets the YA vote. But the book is set in college, and the other characters are all eighteen-plus. That gets the NA vote. It was first released in 2006, so that was a long time before the NA genre came into being… so I guess it gets the overall YA vote?
By now, I think this quote could be infamous:
"What normal girl loved physics? Abnormal ones. Ones who were not ever going to be hot. And face it, being hot? That was what life was all about."
It crops up very quickly in the first chapter. I knew about it going into the book, and I did have a moment of hesitation when I read it. I wasn’t sure the book was going to be worth it. Tone can be a hard thing to accurately interpret in the written word. After I continued on with the story, I discovered Claire is a very wry and sarcastic character, and I began putting a snarky, almost bitter tone to some of her words, and it worked for me. I mean, if I read that sentence out loud a few times, and change my tone I get completely different interpretations. Hindsight it a wonderful thing and I personally think this quote would be so much easier to take if the following words were added:
What normal girl loved physics? Abnormal ones. Ones who were not ever going to be hot. And face it, being hot? According to the Monica Morrell’s of this world, that was what life was all about.
A big positive: Vampires are actually portrayed like vampires, not cuddly bloodsucking bunnies. Also, I’m so glad Glass Houses is pretty much insta-love free. Claire didn’t run into a guy’s arms and declare her undying obsession-love within the first fifty pages (or anywhere in the book for that matter.) So, I tentatively say ‘Success’
I’m not sure how I feel about Claire as our main character and narrator. On one hand I kind of like her. She showed a lot of backbone on some occasions, yet at other times she could be incredibly obtuse. I don’t believe that she is sixteen. How many parents actually would let their sixteen year old daughter go away to college and live in a dorm? I would have had an easier time accepting this if Claire was seventeen. I could make up some excuses and it would be within the realms of possibility. We are told Claire is a budding genius, but she comes across as being shallowly intelligent. She isn’t very good a copping on to basic stuff, and she has little to no street-smarts. I preferred Shane, Eve and Michael over her character. I thought they were more consistent in their personalities and their behaviour.
The ending is depicted as a cliff-hanger, but I honestly didn’t feel it bad. I think I’m becoming immune to them and they no longer affect me too badly, so I guess I’m not really a good judge in this area anymore! I’m definitely curious as to what happens next, and I suppose that was the intended reaction. I won’t rush out to buy the next book, but it’ll be on my ‘will eventually get around to wish list.’ I think this series has at least thirteen or fourteen books? Maybe more? I’m not sure I will manage or have the patience to read them all, but I’m curious enough to consider reading the second one at least.
Overall, I didn’t have too many complaints. It’s a pretty good, solid and entertaining read: Yes, some of it I found improbable, but the characters entertained and engaged my attention enough to let me overlook some of the things that bothered me, and I ended up enjoying the story.