The Morganville Vampires, Volume 1 - Rachel Caine Glass Houses

Going to Texas Prairie University was not Claire's first choice of colleges, but before she could make it big she had to attend a college in Texas close to home and wait till she was actually legal enough for her parents to even consider letting her go to schools thousands of miles away. Being the genius and bookworm she is, Claire wasn't fully aware of the threatening presences that dominated Morganville as a town. Though she definitely knew the ruler of the college and that someone was out to get her; bad. For her safety, Claire moved out of the dorms and started living off-campus...where she met her three roommates and where the saying "every action causes a chain reaction" was truly put to the test. Operating under a somewhat defenseless tact, Claire knew that she was going to need some sort of protection from the vampires running Morganville, just not the Protection they were offering. With the help of Eve, Michael and Shane, she was under no circumstances fooled by the impending danger that was descending on the Glass House; but she had the assurance that she wouldn't be fighting off the vampires alone.

I'm still not sure if I like the fact that Claire is attending college at the ripe age of sixteen, but it adds to the frightened-little-girl portrayal in the beginning of the book quite nicely. While I do enjoy strong female heroine preferably, the first couple of chapters quickly captivated my attention, as did the deprecatingly quirky, glib style of writing. The plot was essentially easy to follow and minor events that carried out the action--and some torturous--scenes were fluently done, though a bit scary. (Acid? Really?) It was effectively surprising and definitely original in its comprehension. The vampires in this book are nothing out of the ordinary but they bring a bit more fear to the reader than I expected, which I kind of liked because it was refreshing and creepy at the same time. Claire did have small spurts of self-defense which I was grateful for because I couldn't stand to read a character that was rendered completely helpless throughout a whole book.

As for the interaction between all the roommates and characters in Glass Houses, they did bounce off each other and had made an effortless connection with each other as far as the communication went. Within themselves, some characters were more explored than others, but I believe that was only because some were seen more often as well. There are a lot of characters to think about but it really led to the momentum of the book and kept the ball rolling. I liked the somewhat constant action/fight scenes between the vampires and humans; kept the book entertaining as hell.

If I had not had the second book at the ready, the ending of the first book would really have killed me. Talk about your head-chopping cliffhanger. I would recommend for my readers to buy the Volume 1--which brings Glass Houses and The Dead Girls' Dance--edition if they're considering picking up this series. Trust me, you will kick yourself later if you don't book 1 and 2 to read consecutively. (Heck, I'm kicking myself for not buying the cheap copies of Volume 2 I can seeing everywhere and I haven't even finished book 2 yet.) It's also cheaper to buy the omnibus than each book individually, anyway.

Grade: B

The Dead Girls' Dance

Overall, the pacing was significant because it catered to the necessary transactions and confrontations happening throughout the book. It was intriguing to delve further into the lives of Claire's roommates. The thing was that the fact that Claire is the main character took away from the understanding of some of the characters decisions. It seemed too in-depth at times to read so much baggage behind each character--mostly Eve and Shane in this book--and not get a first-hand look at their thoughts, making me possibly consider that this book would have been better told in third person.

What I most disliked in this book was Claire's blatant disregard for the danger she was putting the people around her to save someone she thinks she might love. I mean, seriously? What is very clearly seen most often in the book is that Claire does not have any sense of self-preservation or common sense. It's not even that she's acting selflessly, just plain stupid when it comes to negotiating with the two biggest and baddest vampires in town. I died a little reading that scene.

Towards the ending I could have done without the slow pacing because it seemed to drag on and on and made it boring to read about. I had to skim the last ten pages because reading in detail felt like it was taking forever. After all the hype and suspense created throughout the book, you'd expect some sort of climax ending but all that Claire and her friends were working towards took on an insignificant view because everything they did to try and save someone's life was ultimately unnecessary. It was like they had enough means to save the person from the start but they had to panic and make stupid plans in order to keep themselves calm.

I did not enjoy reading The Dead Girls' Dance because while even the title is misleading, it was poor as a whole and was not pulled off in a way the reading would be able to follow and understand most of the characters' decisions.

Grade: C-

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