Monday, 30 May 2011

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

4 stars. (Young Adult - pnr)

I really enjoyed Glass Houses. It was the perfect book to read for the mood I was in last week and I savoured every minute of it. The characters were compelling and real, their relationships were heartfelt, at once jokey and light as well as emotional and deep. I loved the atmosphere of the Glass House, a relic in time complete with secret doors, hidden passage ways and protected by a creepy although handy magic ward that keeps the occupants of teh house safe and sound.

I really liked the overall concept of Morganville, a small town overrun with vampires - and everyone knows it. This type of premise is different from many other vampire books I've read where the vampires live in secret and seclusion, the hunters but also the hunted should any human discover their secret. In Morganville, the vampires rule the night and the day. They are in charge and all the humans who occupy the town are subordinates to the ultimate power of the nightwalkers. I liked this bit because it threw the whole concept of power into a tailspin. While most everyone in the small town carry on their lives alongside the vampires, most familes are under the "protection" of one or more vampires and where special bracelets to prove it. These bracelets are the only thing that keep the vamps from taking a midnight snack. There are the exceptions, however, those rebels who refuse to pledge themselves to the vampires and by consequence are pretty much fair game for anyone who wants to take a bite.

All this is what 16 year old university freshman Claire Danvers learns in her first month in Morganville. A brilliant student, Claire has always been on the outside of every in crowd and she's struggled to find her place in a world where age definitely matters. She's young but she's smart enough to be in university, but her parents refuse to allow her to attend MIT or Stanford or any other Ivy league school that would carry her far away from her home and family. So they shuttle her off to Morganville where she is accosted by the mean/psychotic girls...seriously these chicks are fierce and not in a good way. Anyone who will shove you down a flight of stairs, bruise your face with their fist, kidnap you in broad daylight for an intended group beating before then letting you go with the promise of retribution and death are not really girls you'd want to have a sleepover with. Claire is accosted and so decides that she has to leave her dorms. She ends up coming across a notice for a roommate and heads off to the Glass House. She doesn't expect to be invited to stay - and when Michael Glass, the landlord/owner of the house at 18 realizes her age, he isn't keen on letting her stay. A 16 year old in a house with 3 18 year olds, two of whom are boys could easily cause some issues. Claire makes her friends though, in the goth girl Eve who has a funky attitude and funny snark. Shane, the seemingly aloof but ultimately extremely loyal sarcastic one and Michael, the responsible, level-headed one of the bunch who carries a few secrets of his own. Claire grows in confidence and finds her inner strenght through her friendships with these guys and I liked seeing her evolve and get stronger. She's a tough cookie you can tell, she just needs to let herself unleash her own strength.

The most fun about this book is the chance to see these compelling characters get to know one another and form their bonds. They all get along really well and it happens quickly. They bond, the protect one another, they try to survive in a town where choosing to be unprotected by the vampires can get you into a lot of trouble.

This was a great introduction to the Morganville world and I'm really excited to read more.
The only things that didn't work and so didn't earn this book a 5 star where small tidbits in the end, but would have really made this book that much more exciting for me to read.

1. I really loved Shane and Claire together and was waiting the entire book for something to happen between them. When it finally did I loved it, but it somehow felt rushed and also came a bit out of left field. You could tell they liked one another as more than friends, but all the signs were VERY subtle and could have easily have been shrugged off as friendly banter or the like if they hadn't come to terms withone another. I felt like their needed to be a bit more interaction or less subtle signs of their feelings before the 'big moment' came. I'm eager to see how their relationship will play out.

2. I wanted more interaction between all four of the roommates and also to see more scenes between just Eve and Michael. Even if it was just a quick glimpse of something happening between them, nothing big - but something to make me smile cause these two are great.

3. I wanted a teeny bit more action. It all came towards the end and it was great but again I needed more dispersed through out the book.

Overall a very enjoyable read! I'm excited to continue this series and learn more about Morganville, it's hierarchy and power struggle between the vampires and the foursome of friends I've come to adore.

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